Scripture reading: Luke 1:26–38
In the exchange between Gabriel and Mary at the annunciation, part of Gabriel’s job is to calm Mary’s fears and her doubts about how what he has told her can possibly happen. The angel gives her the news about Elizabeth as a proof of God’s mighty acts, evidence that nothing will be impossible with God. In light of that assurance, Mary makes her own act of worship and acceptance. Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.
Servant, in Luke’s Gospel, is interchangeable with disciple. In affirming her servanthood, Mary becomes a prototype of the discipleship ideal. In accepting the word of God that Gabriel brought her, she sets a standard for the disciples who will follow her in Luke’s narrative. At the end of the Gospel, the women disciples at the tomb will also set such a standard for Peter and the rest of the disciples in their perception and acceptance of the words of the men in dazzling clothes.
God of the cosmos and of the human heart,
we come to you in awe and thanksgiving this quiet Advent morning.
Into our muddled humanity, our stubborn need to get it right—
to know the truth, to be perfect, to be holy, sometimes even to be you—
you sent us a squalling, smelly baby, with big eyes and an even bigger heart,
born of our sister Mary, sturdy of mind and body, open-armed,
surprised by an angel, opening her heart, beginning a lifetime of pondering.
Incarnation is the greatest mystery,
the largest absurdity in an entire repertoire of your overtures to our humanity.
Prepare our hearts to receive once more this unfathomable love,
today and every day.