Monday, December 12, 2011

Impossible Reality: Year B, Advent 4

Annunciation by Qi He
This Week's Lectionary Texts:

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16
Luke 1:47-55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
Romans 16:25-27
Luke 1:26-38

This Week's Reflection:

I loved being pregnant. I have two children and simply loved the experience of being pregnant with them. It was anything but easy, though. Childbirth was everything you have heard it can be, but it is was easy for me compared to the pregnancies. There was gestational diabetes and low amniotic fluid. There were high-risk pregnancy doctors and work transitions. It was anything but easy and still I loved it. I think it stems from my love of traveling. I am one of those people who truly does think that "getting there is half the fun." The journey through those nine months (really eight because they were both early!) was an incredible one filled with amazing sights and stops along the way. Did I say that it was anything but easy, though?

Annunciation St Catherine Sinai
found at
This journey of Advent is so fast. In four quick weeks, we go on this trip of being reminded of how hopeless we are because of our sin, being presented with the gift of good news that hope is on his way by a man who looks and acts like no one else,  being invited to stop and breathe for a minute in the midst of what may be the busiest time of our year, and finally being given the opportunity to witness Mary as she is presented with this impossible situation. We better hold on. We don't want to miss a minute of this trip.

The gospel lesson this week is that one from Luke 1 that most of us know very well. We've been waiting for it. Angels and virgins and songs of commitment and joy. What an impossible situation, though. A young girl, unmarried, but legally bound to a man, is told by an angel that she will give birth to "the son of God." And, the angel has the audacity to call this finding favor with God! I think I would have laughed out loud had something like that happened to me. It is an impossible situation.
Annunciation African
found at

And, of course, God knows that is what we humans will think. The angel is ready to answer the question before it is ever asked. "I know, Mary, sounds crazy, but listen to this . . ." With the news of Elizabeth being six months pregnant, the angel is able to proclaim "For nothing will be impossible for God."

For me, having children has increased my spiritual connection to God. Okay, let's be honest, I have my moments, but for the most part it truly has. It has done this for two reasons. One is that I love my children more than I ever knew was possible and two is that I could not have survived the difficult pregnancies or parenthood without a God who loves me and cares for me and shows me how to love and care for my kids. I am reminded daily that "nothing is impossible for God."

So, whether we focus on 2 Samuel and David's gift of rest and promise from God after a very difficult time, on the Romans passage where the writer reminds us to praise God for giving us very good news or Mary's encounter with the angel and response in song found in Luke, this final stop during this journey through Advent takes an impossible situation and brings home to us that nothing is impossible for God. 
Annunciation Ethiopian on fabric
found at

We have to remember this and celebrate it because though it is ultimately an amazing experience, it is anything but easy. And even though we may feel like laughing when we hear it, "we have found favor with God." The impossible situation of God becoming human is about to become a reality! Praise be to God!