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“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

At yesterday evening’s Bible study, we discussed the Gospel for the 4th Sunday of Advent, Luke 1:26-38, and read a fine commentary by Dr. Raj Nadella from The Working Preacher.

We know the beloved story in the Gospel of Luke well. The Angel Gabriel comes to Mary and proclaims: .. you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.

Mary is utterly troubled by the appearance of the angel and perplexed by the words. The angel reassures her, saying: “You are highly favoured. The Lord is with you. You will give birth to a son. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s

descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

The pronouncements do not seem to quell Mary’s anxieties. Mary is perplexed. How can this be, since I am a virgin? The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you…'

Finally, the angel says, "And now, your relative Elizabeth, in her old age, has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”

Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your


We at the Bible study were quite moved by the commentator’s insight and inspiring

interpretation of these events:

In the end, it was the news that Elizabeth had also conceived in a miraculous manner

that convinced Mary to accept the announcement. She asked no additional questions

after that… It was the assurance that another woman, someone she knew well, would

walk with her during this uncertain journey that convinced Mary. Elizabeth likely

understood Mary’s predicament more than anyone else, and it was the prospect of a

shared experience that mattered to Mary more than any of those grand promises from


As we continue to prepare for Christmas, the Feast of the Incarnation, this beloved story informs us that we have more than pronouncements or simple assurances that God cares for us. As Christ, the Son of God, is born as an infant in the manger in Bethlehem, God will share in the human experience and journey, even into the unknown, with us.

In the Parish of All Saints, at St. Paul, St. John, and St. James, we are the Body of Christ, and we, like Elizabeth and Mary, walk together, assuring one another of God’s love and care.

Every Blessing for you and your loved ones this Christmas,

Rev. Jon Lavelle

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