In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! ”
Luke 1:26-28 (NLT)
So begins Mary’s story. Those of us who hear these readings every December know what comes next – Mary was confused and afraid. Out of her depth and trying to understand.
But these first angelic words are cause for great joy – Mary is favored and the Lord is with her. This is reason to rejoice. But here’s the thing about joy – it’s like so many of our human emotions. It comes in the midst of the mess of other things we are feeling. These words are cause for joy, but also confusion and maybe a little fear.
We are complex, in that we can feel a whole lot of things at once. And the story of God’s coming among us is full of all kind of emotion – surprise, wonder, joy, peace, sadness, confusion, anger. So many things to feel and to try to sort out.
Still, I am thankful for the joy of this angelic announcement. Though it was not easy for Mary to hear, or to understand. And though it would not be easy to carry out all that God would ask of her.
That’s the way of it when God calls any one of us to do something – there is joy in knowing that God cares and that God has a purpose for you. But all of the other emotions will enter in as well, as one tries to live out their calling.
This Advent, as you try to live out God’s calling on your life – may you remember the joy of being called in the first place. May you experience the joy of knowing that God has a purpose for you. And may you pursue God with your whole heart.