26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
“Good morning! You are beautiful with God’s beauty, beautiful inside and out! God be with you.” That is how Gabriel greets Mary in Eugene Peterson’s The Message. She has found favor with God, not because of any measure her world would use. She is too young, too female, too poor, too powerless for the world to honor. But she is highly esteemed by God. We will read this week about another angelic birth announcement, about John the Baptist. That one will be given to his father Zechariah, who enjoys more status for his age, gender, position. But the angel does not greet him with such lofty admiration and his doubtful response earns him several months of being mute. By contrast, Mary responds in faith and obedience, confirming the praise the angel has given her.
We can learn from Mary here. The beauty of God potentially exists in each of us. God wants to birth wonderful, amazing, confounding things in each of our lives. All that stands between us and seeing the beauty of God birthed in our lives is our willingness to say with Mary: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” Say that today and mean it and watch the beauty of God unfold in your life.
The New Living Translation (NLT)Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale HousePublishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.