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, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 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 favor 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.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.
It’s the day after Christmas. While some people are thinking about taking down the decorations, we might want to consider how we can make the message of Christmas last. A hint to how that might happen comes in the story of Mary’s conversation with the angel that we find in Luke.
Chapter one of Luke starts with the tale of two old followers of God, Elizabeth and Zechariah, who after a lifetime of unsuccessfully trying to have a child, were told that soon they would be changing diapers as parents. It seemed impossible to them, but they smiled and agreed to watch it happen. Then we find the story of Mary. She is much younger than Elizabeth, and the story of her baby to be isn’t really about timing. The angel tells Mary, this young virgin, that she too will soon give birth to a son. Mary’s concern is about process. She is a virgin (did we already mention that?). And if that wasn’t incredible enough, this child is to be God’s Son. The angel explains that the power of the Holy Spirit will make it all happen, and then he comes with the line that takes us back through the history of how God has worked in the lives of people, and helps us to chart our path of trusting God in our lives as we go forward:
Nothing will be impossible with God.
That’s what we are to remember, and that’s how we can keep the spirit and promise a Christmas throughout the year. When we are told to forgive those who have done terrible things to hurt us. Impossible, we think. (Nothing will be impossible with God.) When we are told to change our lives from selfishness and sinfulness. Impossible, we think. (Nothing will be impossible with God.) When we feel so unlovable, and then we hear that God loves us regardless. Impossible, we think. (Nothing will be impossible with God.)
Maybe we should spend a little time each day and every day forward, wondering what might be possible for us, with God.
God, this day after Christmas is another day in my life. Help me to look for what You have deemed possible for me today, through Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior. Amen.