Reflections for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany -2023

The Annunciation Angel Visits Mary (Luke 1:26)

There is a meme floating around social media right now that reads: “Why do people run from the rain, yet dance in the shower?”

In the story of The Annunciation, the Angel Gabriel comes to Mary with an announcement that she, who has found favour with God, will conceive and bear a child, who will be named Jesus, and will be holy, the Son of God. It is an announcement, yes, but it is also a choice.

We can assume that Mary must have made choices every day that brought gladness to God’s heart. “Favoured one”, the angel calls her, and so we know that she must have been an amazing person, whose life of faithfulness was beyond exemplary. While God could have been confident in how Mary would choose – God knew her character, and knew her heart – God still offers her a choice. She could have said “No”.

Mary’s initial response to the angel’s appearance is alarm – she is “greatly troubled” – but she is assured that she should “Be not afraid”. She then questions, perhaps doubts, what she knows is a scientific physiological impossibility. “How can this be?” she asks, but is assured, “With God, nothing is impossible.” Then, she gives her considered, informed consent. “Let it be to me according to your word.”

The Latin words for her response to the angel is “fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum”. What we call “Mary’s fiat” has been said to be the moment on which all of salvation history hung. She could have refused what she knew would be personally challenging, perhaps even socially devastating, a history-changing responsibility, daunting beyond comprehension. Yet, her deep trust in God, her deep knowledge of God’s love for her and for the world, and a spirit of obedience, allows her to say “Yes”.

We too can make choices every day for God, to take the path that is challenging, even socially dangerous, because we know that God is calling us to obedience to a Divine plan.

And I suspect that in making those choices for God, in aligning our will to God’s will, we can find joy in the tasks that we do in the name of Christ, whether it is forgiving an enemy, caring for a stranger, speaking out for the marginalized and oppressed, protecting the vulnerable, or loving our neighbour.

In choosing for God, we choose to dance in, rather than run from, the rain.