My jaw fell to the ground beneath the jungle gym. I studied my friend’s eyes to make sure she wasn’t messing with me. How could that be the way that babies are made?
I wonder if my playground face was similar to the face Mary makes when the Angel Gabriel shows up and tells her she’s going to have a baby. I’ve been thinking about this during Advent as I decorate and get ready for Christmas. This angel shows up in Nazareth to her, a virgin, and says, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
My Bible translation says she looks “understandably perplexed.” Who is this angel? What is he talking about? Is he messing with her? The angel continues, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.”
Mary doesn’t skip a beat, “But how can this be since I am a virgin?” The angel responds simply, quietly, patiently with God’s best mic drop (microphone) answer, “Because the Holy Spirit will come upon you.”
God is the best type of ridiculous.
The first shall be last. . . A virgin will have a baby. . . who will save all people. . . Oh, and her friend, who is way past child-bearing age will have a child too. Our God isn’t just a God of forgiveness and grace (and don’t get me wrong, this Lutheran gal loves grace), but also a God of the impossible.
And what’s more, God’s people are called to be a people of the impossible. Mary looks at this crazy-talking angel and responds simply, quietly, patiently with her own best mic drop answer, “Here am I, the servant of the lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
The angel leaves. He’s got nothing more to say.
And maybe neither do we. A jaw dropped to the floor seems a pretty appropriate response when we realize that God is using us—yes, messed-up us—to do God’s good work with and for the human race.
Mary expects and trusts in the impossible from God and boldly from herself. What would it look like for us to do the same?