Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel reminds us that God is in the business of breaking into people’s lives in ways beyond what we expect or imagine.
She was just an ordinary young woman, likely going about everyday tasks in Nazareth. Perhaps she was singing to herself as she wondered what life would be like when she and Joseph were finally married and building a home of their own. Whatever was on her mind, Mary’s whole world was about to take a dramatic turn.
As Luke tells the story, Mary’s encounter with an angel seems very matter of fact and low key (Luke 1:26–38). Nothing could be further from the truth. Mary was stopped in her tracks by the angel called Gabriel, whom Luke tells us just a few verses earlier in the story of Zechariah, stands in the presence of God. He was sent to Mary with a message that God was going to show her His favour.
Mary was troubled as she did not understand what was going on. Favoured? How? Gabriel reassured Mary and told her that she was going to have a son whom she was to call Jesus. This child would be the Son of God and the great eternal king. Mary was puzzled because she was still a virgin, so surely couldn’t possibly become pregnant. With great patience and love, Gabriel assured her that the conception would be a miracle of the Holy Spirit. She could trust what she was being told because the word of God never fails.
What was Mary’s response to God breaking into her ordinary life? She put herself in the hands of God and would trust Him because she was His servant. Mary welcomed God’s breaking into her life and God used her to bring about His purpose for the world.
God is still breaking into the lives of people to bring about His divine purpose. We are seeing it all over Asia where men, women and children – so many of whom have never heard the name of Jesus – are being told all about Him and are coming to saving faith. Some come to know of Jesus after receiving a Bible and reading of Him for themselves. Others, however, are unable to read and there are many stories of the Lord himself appearing to people in dreams and visions, breaking into their lives in ways beyond our expectation. God is still breaking into the lives of men and women and showing them His love and favour.
Will you allow God to break into your life this Advent season? And will you join us in the mission of bringing the Word of hope, the Word of life, the Word of who Jesus is to the men, women and young people of Asia who have never heard of him?