Franciscan Spirit Blog

The Gifts of Advent Day 24: Nothing Is Impossible with God

The angel said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
(Luke 1:35–38)

Luke weaves together the annunciation and birth of John the Baptist and the annunciation and birth of Jesus. The first is marvelous but still comprehensible in human terms. John, the precursor, was born of human parents, conceived in the normal way (if a bit past the normal age for begetting). Zechariah and Gabriel have something of a confrontation of wills. This isn’t unusual in the Hebrew Scriptures, where quite a few characters wrestle and argue with their divine messengers.

With Mary, the scene ascends out of the earthly realm into something that had never happened before or since. She’s perplexed, she questions, but she doesn’t doubt. This might be the greatest sign of her special grace and favor. Mary, filled with God’s grace, says yes. And that yes changed the human race and creation for all time.

We can barely imagine what this experience must have been like for Mary: to be chosen, out of all the women in history, to bear the Son of God, the Messiah long promised to her people. It is indeed a singular experience. But each of us is favored by God and called to bring forth a bit of divine life in our own place and time. And it might seem as overwhelming as Mary’s call was to her. God doesn’t tell us not to question, but rather not to be afraid. And whether we come to our response as slowly as Zechariah or as quickly as Mary, we do come to it in the end. And with God’s grace, that answer will be yes.

Gifts of Advent | Donation

Take a Deep Breath

Hear the words of the angel Gabriel spoken in your heart: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.… Do not be afraid…for you have found favor with God” (see Luke 1:28–30). What is your initial reaction? Turn the words over a time or two. What comes to mind? What do you think the Lord might be asking of you? Breathe deeply. How does your response change? What will you do next?

A Simple Gift

We all know people who are dealing with seemingly impossible situations on their lives. The last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have made this all too real. Send a special card to someone who is struggling through a particularly rough patch right now. If you’re an archangel, you can simply declare that nothing is impossible with God. If you’re a finite human being, the words can ring hollow; you need to find a concrete and compassionate way to convey this message. Sometimes it means simply being present to another person, holding them in prayer, letting them know they’re loved in the midst of their struggles. Sometimes it’s taking action with and for them. Trust God to give you the words and show you the way.


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