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Monday, December 10, 2007
Gabriel's visit to Mary
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"Nothing Is Impossible"
"For nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37).
Yesterday morning we enjoyed watching the children in our church perform the Christmas Musical, "The Grumpy Shepherd." The director cleverly positioned young angels holding LED flashlights at different levels on step ladders draped with shimmering white cloth. The play also had shepherds, several kids dressed as sheep, and in the all star cast Mary and Joseph were also featured! As far as I could tell the children sang out, spoke up and pulled it off without a hitch.
But Christmas recitations and children's plays often have some humorous unscripted glitches that actually makes the experience even more memorable. We recall such an instance in a church we served in the past when very young children were giving small recitations on Christmas Eve. Brooksyne lined up the children and held the microphone for each child as they said their parts.
It was four year old Amber's turn and she wouldn't say a word so Brooksyne tried to prompt her by whispering her lines to her. This went on for a little while and you could even see Amber's mother and grandparents anxiously sitting on the edge of their seats mouthing the words she was to recite. Amber just kept looking into the microphone without saying a word. Finally she courageously took charge of the mic and informed the entire congregation, "I gotta go pee" as she held herself and quickly bolted down the center aisle toward the bathroom. It wasn't exactly what we were expecting but she certainly did make an announcement.
Angels are abundant in the two Christmas account narratives in Matthew and Luke. But only two angels are identified by name in the Scriptures; Gabriel and Michael. Both are customarily identified as archangels, but only Michael specifically has this title (Jude V. 9). (Of course the principle fallen angel also has a name.)
Only Gabriel gets the choice assignment to make two visits to earth during this time. These visits are six months apart and are recorded in Luke 1. The first one was to aged Zechariah, the second one to young Mary. Both received a message regarding the birth of a son. Both were miraculous in nature. Old barren couples simply don't have babies. Do you suppose they were still trying? And of course the remarkably unique message to Mary concerned the special work of God in her life in the supernatural conception of Jesus. Aware that such an announcement was not in keeping with the "facts of life" she inquired, "How will this be, since I am a virgin?"
Gabriel's final words recorded in Scripture are an assurance specifically directed to Mary, but speak to all of us as well. This is the testimony of an angel who had been working as a top associate at God's side through the endless ages. Certainly he would know.
His final words to Mary are, "for nothing is impossible with God." Mary received these words in faith as she responded, "I am the Lord's servant, May it be to me as you have said" (v.38).
What an exemplary attitude for us to observe and to put into practice! And what a testimony! The immutable God has not changed. The testimony of Gabriel stands true today. It's true for you and me. It not only spoke to Mary when she received news that just didn't make sense concerning her special role in the greatest birth. It also speaks to perplexing situations in our lives when God is at work, but some pieces of the puzzle are not yet in place. What a joy to be a child of God as we learn to trust Him in the major and minor details of our lives!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we read of Your supernatural workings throughout the Bible and we've witnessed it over the years. We see miracles of Your healing and saving power in the lives of others. We've also experienced it personally as You've saved us from our sins and set us on an eternal journey of giving praise and thanksgiving to You for all Your wondrous works. When we lose sight of Your miraculous deeds in the daily grind of life and in the circumstances that baffle or discourage us help us to remember that You are a God of the impossible! We want to entrust to You all that concerns us on this day, for You delight in those who put their hope in Your unfailing love and miraculous power. Amen.
"Mary's Song" (Audio) This sounds like it's from a local church musical drama and has an interesting perspective although the sound quality is rather low.
"Mary Did You Know" (Audio1) (Audio2)
"Be It Unto Me" (Video)
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