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Banner Image:   Christmas Meditations 2021
Day 7 : The Lord is with you (Luke 1:26-28)

What would strike you if you were a first century Palestinian hearing these words for the first time?  

– the lack of a big show?  Perhaps…  (Did Mary’s neighbours even notice what was going on?) 

– the unexpectedness of the visit?  Almost certainly…  (God doesn’t seem to be answering Mary’s prayers here, as he is with Zechariah, see Luke1:14.)

But I wonder whether the biggest surprise would have been the simple humility of the scene?

For on the one hand we have an angel – the angel Gabriel; a descendant of the great king David in Joseph; and the most extraordinary message – a message declaring that God’s favour has come.  

And yet on the other hand we have an unheard-of town in the back of beyond (read “God sent the angel Gabriel to Barrow-in-Furness”).  We have the great royal line of David reduced to what?  …a tradesman and his peasant fiancé.  God’s great family of rulers deposed and his people, his treasured possession, living in what was little more than a puppet Roman state.  And we have a young girl.  A girl for whom pregnancy, in any other circumstances, could only mean the ending of any future prospects.

Yet this is how God chose to do things.  This is how God decided to get his plan back in action, his royal line back on the throne.  Because God came to this young girl, we too can claim the angel Gabriel’s words: “The Lord is with us”.

Matt Hutchings, 05/12/2021