December 18

Luke 1:26-29

“And (the angel Gabriel) came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.” vss. 28-29

The artists of the Renaissance were much taken by Luke’s account of the Annunciation and almost all of them painted one or more versions of the angelic appearance. Many show Mary in what the artists presume to be a perplexed state with a look of wonder on her face, pretty much not comprehending what is happening. In the context of Luke’s little story, of course, we would expect that Mary would be confused–angelic visitations didn’t happen every day in Nazareth! In fact most of us are even more perplexed than Mary–we just don’t know what to make of stories like this, and spend too much time wondering about whether they’re true. Those internal debates for the most part are pointless and destroy the richness of the text. When Luke tells us that messages from God are perplexing, he’s absolutely right. It is profoundly difficult to know what is from God and what is the product of our own desires and yearnings. Is the plan that is taking shape in our minds from our Creator or are we hearing the seductive voice of the Tempter? For a girl like Mary the future seemed cut and dried–she would live out her life as had thousands of young women before her. Could it really be that she was being singled out? And more to the point, what lies ahead for each of us?

Thought for the Day: What’s ahead for me?

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