I'm listening to the Beatles' song "Let it be" as I read Luke's account of the Angel Gabriel's announcement to the Blessed Virgin (Luke 1:26-38). The song tells us Mary's words are "words of wisdom." Who would have expected wisdom from one so young?
Frederick Buechner, in his book Peculiar Treasures, has this to say about the Annunciation:
She struck the angel Gabriel as hardly old enough to have a child at all, let along this child, but he’d been entrusted with a message to give her and he gave it. He told her what the child was to be named, and who he was to be, and something about the mystery that was to come upon her. “You mustn’t be afraid, Mary,” he said. And has he said it, he only hoped she wouldn’t notice that beneath the great golden wings, he himself was trembling with fear to think that the whole future of creation hung now on the answer of a girl.”
The future of creation hung now on the answer of a girl. Imagine all the angels looking down and holding their breath, wondering what she would say. We know her answer: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord. Let it be with me according to your word.”
Mary wasn’t the first to say these words. She stands in a line of witnesses who said “Here am I” to God’s request. Noah said, “Here am I,” and God told him to build a floating zoo. Abram said, “Here am I,” and God told him to get his wife, pack his things, and go to a land God would show him. The boy Samuel said, “Here am I,” and began a career of speaking truth to the powers that be. Isaiah said, “Here am I,” and God sent him to deliver a prophetic message promising deliverance by a Messiah who is to come.
When we say the words, “Here am I,” and are open to hearing what it is God is asking of us, we take our places in that long line of faithful people. We are liberated and given the necessary strength to do what God is calling us to do.
Mary has already given birth to the Messiah, so God isn’t asking us to do that. Still, the angels in heaven are holding their breath to hear our answer when God draws near and calls us. We won’t need to find new words to say because the old ones still work just fine: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord.”
Gay and I are blessed to spend another Christmas with the people of Good Shepherd. May your Christmas and the coming year be filled with joy, peace, and blessings in abundance.