An Advent Journey: Stop, Look, Listen – Day 20

“One month later God sent the angel Gabriel to the town of Nazareth in Galilee with a message for a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to Joseph from the family of King David. The angel greeted Mary and said, ‘You are truly blessed! The Lord is with you.’

Mary was confused by the angel’s words and wondered what they meant. Then the angel told Mary, ‘Don’t be afraid! God is pleased with you, and you will have a son. His name will be Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of God Most High. The Lord God will make him king, as his ancestor David was. He will rule the people of Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.’

Mary asked the angel, ‘How can this happen? I am not married!’

The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. Nothing is impossible for God!’

Mary said, ‘I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.’ And the angel left her.
— Luke 1:26-38, CEV

It was such an ordinary day. Really, it was. 

I was helping my mother with the laundry, day-dreaming a little about Joseph, the kind-hearted carpenter from Nazareth I was just getting to know and would soon marry. 

It was late afternoon and the sun was sinking slowly into the western sky, drawing long shadows in the dust. I sat in the shade of a tamarind tree and closed my eyes for just a moment. 

I felt him first, even before I saw him. He actually radiated a kind of heat. And the light? Oh my, this Gabriel creature was bright. And so gentle with me. He could see that I was frightened. Stunned might be a better word. 

Why in the world would such a glorious creature be standing in front of a 14-year-old girl from a backwater town on a warm summer evening? 

To bring me a message from God on High, a message of such glory and such promise. . . and such heartache and such pain. Only I did not know that then. I only knew I had been chosen, singled out. I had been given a gift. And a beautiful, unimaginable burden. 

And the Spirit came with power upon me. In an instant, my life as I knew it was over. And a new life had begun, growing slowly inside me, then outside me, then away from me. 

And now, it is I who live in him — in him alone. My Lord, and my God.

A poem-prayer from St. John of the Cross: 

If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy, and say,
“I need shelter for the night,
please take me inside your heart, my time is close.”
Then, under the roof of your soul,
you will witness the sublime intimacy,
the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever,
as she grasps your hand for help,
for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Yes there, under the dome of your being
does creation come into existence eternally,
through your womb, dear pilgrim — the sacred womb of your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help,
for each of us is his beloved servant, never far.
If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the street
pregnant with Light and sing. . .

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  1. She was so young and brave.


  2. Diana, these reflections have been such a gift in my inbox this Christmas season. Thank you.

  3. Indeed, she was. Thanks for coming by, Glenda. And Merry Christmas!

  4. Thank you, Laura. May you and your family discover some sweet, quiet Christmas blessings this year.