The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.”
You Have Found Favor With God
In your inbox is an email with the subject line: “Congratulations! You have been chosen to receive special attention.” By now, you’ve learned enough of how the internet works that you might immediately mark the message as junk mail without even opening it. But what if you noticed that it was sent by the Internal Revenue Service? You wouldn’t throw that one away! You might even become nervous, wondering why the government had singled you out, fearing that you might somehow be in trouble.
A young woman named Mary wasn’t sure how to react when an emissary from God, a holy angel, appeared to her saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Why would God single her out for attention? She knew that there was nothing about her personally that merited any preferential treatment. Like others in the Scriptures who suddenly found themselves in the presence of God or one of his angels, at that moment, Mary was no doubt painfully aware of her own unworthiness, her personal failings, and the many reasons why a holy God might be displeased with her. But the angel assured her that she had nothing to worry about. She had found favor with God.
Whenever we open our Bibles or go to church, we find ourselves in the presence of God, who speaks through his Word and who knows how unworthy we are. Maybe you have been trying to avoid that. But don’t be afraid; listen to what he has to say. You will also find favor with him! He is a gracious God who lifts up the lowly and has mercy on the undeserving. He sent his Son Jesus, born of Mary, to shower us all with his grace. Do not be afraid of God turning his gaze toward you. Rather listen closely to his message of peace and forgiveness in Jesus announced to you again this Christmas.
Lord, calm my heart and prepare it to listen to your message of peace and joy in Jesus. Amen.