Luke 1:26-38 – 4th Sunday of Advent – for December 18, 2011
“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God…” (Luke 1:26)
Visiting the old man had been easier.
Maybe it was because The Messenger chose a sanctuary for the encounter. The whole world is holy, but still, with the silence and candles, the sacred space enhanced the announcement he prepared for Zechariah.
Advent’s Fourth Word: ANGEL
There’s this, too: maybe Zechariah—honestly humble and intentionally kind by all accounts—felt he deserved a break. Thought God should do a deed or two for him. Yes, The Messenger mused, the old man was easy. Not once in the sanctuary conversation did he have to consult his notes or raise his voice or make an unnecessary promise. And it didn’t surprise The Messenger when Elizabeth’s elderly husband couldn’t mutter a word afterwards. Awe can do that. The Messenger had seen it before with humans—the stupor, the incoherent explanations, the babbling about a dream.
And yet now this: this girl, this woman. Mary is both and neither. He studies her from the shadows; he is alert, prepared and he never hesitated when told he would be her witness. It’s his job, after all. He’s done it before, and hopes he’ll continue the work for a long time. The Messenger relishes playing the muse, the voice, the dream, the whisper, the unexpected idea, the rush of wind, the stillness of night, the surge of adrenalin, the calm of conviction, the best hope and last chance.
He didn’t ask why her or why now. Well above his pay grade, thank you very much.
Still he lingers in the shadows, leaning against the wall, almost as if hiding. As if he’s more afraid and less confident. This surprises him. Continue reading →