The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said,

‘Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.'”

– Luke 1:26-38

When the angel Gabriel greeted Mary, the scripture tells us that she was “greatly troubled.” Gabriel replied, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”

I often think how astounding it is that God appeared not to a royal queen in a palace, but a poor, young woman whose heart was in the right place to receive him. Although afraid and confused at first, Mary accepted her mission and obeyed the Lord. She fully trusted God, despite how upside-down and bizarre the revelation must have been to her. I’m sure Mary too, at times, wondered why the God of the universe would choose her to carry forth his redemption of the world. As I get to know God, I realize more and more that his ways are not our ways. He often uses the weak to shame the strong, the faithful and obedient to baffle those who think they’re wise. God manifests his extraordinary character in the seemingly ordinary, and shows up in unexpected places. Mary knew this full well, and perhaps it was her soft heart and childlike faith that brought forth God’s favor and choosing.

I want to have that kind of faith. I want to be able to believe God even when circumstances seem confusing, fearful, or too hard to grasp. I want to be able to obediently trust my Lord with my life with the same acceptance that Mary had. As believers, we too are carrying the Lord with us in our hearts and into the world. May we accept our mission to shine God’s light and love, manifesting his presence and character in our own lives. This is how God turns the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Dear Lord, may we have the courage, obedience, and trust that Mary had when Gabriel appeared to her. May we accept our mission to carry your presence into the world.


Joshua Kinney

To view the full Advent 2020 booklet, click here.

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