December 12 – The Gift of Revelation
I have always found the story of Gabriel’s visit to Mary and Mary’s response to the news that she had been chosen to bear the child of the Almighty to be gorgeously poetic, but perplexing. The idea that God would speak directly, or through a messenger, to any of us on earth is very, very hard to imagine. But when I consider this story I am struck by Mary’s behavior. First she listened and considered “in her mind” this very disturbing message, next, she identified herself as the handmaiden of the Lord indicating her acceptance of her role, then she disappeared into the hill country to be with her cousin, Elizabeth, whose life had also been radically changed. What she did not do was announce it to the world. She did not seek to call attention to herself. Self preservation no doubt, given the culture of that day, but more than that, this communication seems to be between Mary and God.
I often feel that God has communicated with me, but not with words. It is a sense, usually of peace, or well being, that comes after a period of tension, stress or despair, an inward knowledge that rekindles hope and purpose. There have been moments in my life when I have found myself without the faintest idea of what to do or what to say, yet somehow God reveals a way forward, if I am patient, if I listen. Finally, this gift of revelation is, for me, ultimately about my faith, and my struggles with faith. My need to try to make all the pieces fit, to get the faith to make “sense”, has often left me wishing I could leave it behind, let it go, stop believing, but as we prepare for this miraculous birth, I sense the presence of God and the revelation an everlasting love that is always with us.