And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” Luke 1:28
I always get excited at this time of year. And it’s been like this this pretty much all my life, but not always for the same reasons.
When I was in the 5th grade, I got excited at this time of year because this was when our school teachers would be picking who would have the individual parts in the annual Christmas pageant.
I had high hopes that this would be the year that I would be favored to be picked for a larger role – a wise man or maybe even Joseph himself!
Mary of Nazareth was a young lady who was doing her chores around the house. She was excited, too. But not because it was Christmas. Rather, she was soon to be married!
She had recently been betrothed to Joseph the carpenter. They would be married soon! She was so happy!
But then Gabriel visited her. Gabriel was an angel of the Lord and this visit frightened Mary.
His first words didn’t help alleviate her fear.
“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
Mary had no idea what this kind of greeting could mean.
To be “favored” meant to be approved of or to be chosen. It is a word, in the Bible, that is closely related to “grace.”
Gabriel was telling Mary that God has chosen her solely by his grace alone.
There was nothing in Mary that God would choose her. At least, nothing in her that God didn’t or wouldn’t give her as a free gift.
That’s the way it is for you and me as well. We aren’t good enough or nice enough or pretty enough or talented enough for God to notice us and come to us and choose us.
And yet, God does choose us. But solely by his grace alone!
God chooses to love us and save us from sin, death, and the devil, solely out of grace.
By his grace God chooses us to be his own. In response to this we serve God and tell others this wonderful Good News, just as Mary would.
What did God choose Mary for? That’s what we’ll explore in the next devotion.
Oh, and was I favored to be chosen for a larger role in the Christmas pageant when I was in the 5th grade?
Nope. I was destined to be a Shermy all through childhood.
But that’s ok. Because shepherds also had an important part to play in the Christmas story – which we’ll also explore in a future devotion.
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