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Luke 1:26-28 – The angel Gabriel appears to Mary

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favoured one! The Lord is with you.”

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

Imagine if you were greeted by an angel! Like any incredible occurrence – sunsets, snowflakes, daffodils – I’m sure with enough repetition we’d start to get used to it, but to begin with maybe we would capture some of the mystery and awe that Gabriel brings when he appears to Mary. Not to mention the powerful reassurance that Gabriel shares as well – “The Lord is with you.” It’s a pity that our contemporary world has suppressed mystery and awe, because the Bible tells us that we can start each day with this assurance, if we reach out for it. The Lord is with us. We just need to stop and remind ourselves of this. So pause where you are – right now – and recapture this spirit: Greetings, blessed one! The Lord is with you.

Ever-present God, Your love surrounds us and holds us close each day, and yet too often we are too busy to appreciate this. We rush past miracles and dismiss Your angels as coincidences and happenstance. Inspire our hearts to notice the greetings you send us each day, hidden in plain sight. Renew in us an appreciation for Your enduring presence. Amen.

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


Luke 1:21-25 Zechariah returns to Elizabeth

Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.”

Silhouette of a man praying @ Walton United Church, Oakville, Ontario

Zechariah’s life was transformed by the experience he had in the sanctuary. Not just a vision of the angel Gabriel (who at this point was probably more real to Zechariah than the people outside), but a vision of his own future, raising a son with a holy purpose, seeing God at work in the world. We too can be transformed by the same vision – of God fully present in the world, working through people inspired by a holy purpose, and of a saviour living and dying to redeem us all. We are called then to look at the world and try to see it as God does; to find His love and purpose in each day and to let that shape our choices and priorities.

Boundless God, help us to see the world as You do, and to see You in the world; in the smile of a stranger, the peace of a sleeping child, the release of unsuppressed laughter. Remind us of our holy purpose: to turn the hearts of those around us to be closer to each other and nearer to You. Amen.

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