Luke 1:29-33 The angel Gabriel foretells the birth of Jesus

But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Angel statue covered in snpw @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Right from the outset, Mary is uncertain about the message Gabriel is bringing and the words he is using. It’s almost as if she realized that being ‘favoured’ wasn’t going to be as simple as it might sound. And she’s right. We know that the life ahead for Mary will have challenges and sorrow – and yet she is described as favoured. Finding favour with God, however, is less about leading a life of untroubled bliss and more about being empowered to do God’s will and to follow his path. In that sense, each one of us can find favour with God. God can strengthen us and inspire us to follow his path. Our lives form part of the story that flows across the centuries, connecting us to those believers who have gone before us. This thread runs all the way back to the Son of the Most High, and his mother, who accepted the words of the angel Gabriel and was blessed with courage and patience.

Empowering God, help us to lead lives that are worthy of Your favour. Nurture within us an understanding of your purpose for our days and guide us to see the way ahead, living as part of Your greater story. Strengthen us to face the challenges that might lie ahead, and comfort us with your eternal love. Amen.

Thank you for joining us on this prayerful path through Advent.
Blessings and best wishes for 2018.

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