Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Complex Gifts

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”

 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. “And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

And Mary said, “Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

God’s gifts are complex.  Mary’s gift, a child conceived by the Holy Spirit came, with such complications: nearly being divorced from her betrothed, birthing her firstborn in a stable, living as a political refugee in Egypt.  Mary’s gift brought joy and sorrow.  Mary’s gift was a sword piercing her own heart.

Our gifts are often similarly complicated.  An ill and aging parent comes to live with us.  Joy and suffering in a single cup.  We reach out to friends with the gospel; some receive glady, more turn awkwardly away.  

For Mary her answer to the gift was simple, “behold the bondslave of the Lord”. May we be her daughter’s in this.  When joy and suffering come wrapped up together as a complex gift from our Lord, may we say simple, “I too am your servant Lord.  Speak and I obey.”

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  1. Great inspiration and encouragement to follow God's call even in the difficult times. With the sorrows of this world comes the joy of suffering. Thank you for sharing!

  2. I am in the "sandwich" generation. Our 4 parents are now living in town 90,89,88, and 81. After living overseas for 24 years and our parents being across the country from each other, it is a joy to have them close. But when they want help that is "inconvenient" to our schedules...and just to see our parents growing old. Plus we have 4 kids and 6 grandkids who we want to help and visit. Of course they are a joy, except the family that is not following the Lord. What an ache! Thanks for this reminder. Visiting through Sister Spurring Sister