Annunciation of the Virgin [mosaic] – Sanctuary of Caravaggio, Italy [photo by Macthia]

Annunciation of the Virgin [mosaic] – Sanctuary of Caravaggio, Italy [photo by Macthia]

The words of the prophets were glimmers of hope in the ancient darkness. Like streaks of lightning across the night sky, the utterances of the prophets illuminated the landscape for a glorious moment before all went black again. When they spoke God’s word they spoke of judgment but also of grace — and above all, they spoke of the peoples' hope.

Then there was silence: four-hundred years without a prophet, four centuries without a godly king, generations wondered if God would ever walk with his people again.

And then at last, out of the silence, he spoke. The angel of the Lord came down from on high to greet a woman, barely more than a child. “Greetings,” the angel of the Lord said, “the Lord is with you, favored one.”

In the pause that followed the whole world bowed down in silent stillness, as the angel wondered what she might say. Did the angel doubt her willingness or her faith? How could she possibly be the bearer of all God’s promises? How could she ever carry the weight of the world’s deep longing in her womb?

Like Abraham before her, so Mary received the promise of God. And her response: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” In faith, she received and by faith she obeyed.

In a moment illuminated by her courage and faith, she became the bearer of the living Word. The Son of David was coming to claim his throne. The heir of Abraham was coming to receive his blessing. The child for whom a whole nation had longed and prayed was coming – not to conquer but to serve and show the way to the heart of God.

This SUNDAY, DECEMBER 24, we witness the courage of Mary as the angel Gabriel visits and announces to her that she will bear Jesus. It is a calling story just like that of the prophets of old, and her response, "Let it be with me according to your word" should inspire us to also make God's love in Christ incarnate within us as well. Rev. Michael Riggs brings to us a message of love that weaves a golden thread through all that has been and all that will be.