“Concerning What Gabriel Said to Mary”

Luke 1:26-38

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

(audio begins at about 25 seconds)

“Nothing will be impossible with God,” said Gabriel to Mary in this morning’s gospel lesson; a beautiful and hope-filled promise, but, one which, in my experience, does not always turn out to mean what we might like for it to mean.

We would like for “Nothing will be impossible with God,” to mean that every prayer will be answered, every disease cured, every tragedy averted, problem fixed, despair lifted, and relationship healed.  We would like for “Nothing will be impossible with God,” to mean that God will always step in and stop things before they go too far and get too bad.

But, needless to say, for most of us, that is not the case.  For most of us “Nothing will be impossible with God” most often turns out to mean that, with the comfort and courage of the spirit of God and the help and support of the people of God, nothing is impossible for us to face or bear or go through.  We know that that is so because so many of us have already lived through things so painful that, if someone had told us ahead of time that we were going to have to go through them, we would have sworn we could never make it.

But, we do.  We do go through what we did not get to go around, and, wonder of wonders, sometimes we even emerge from our hardest  struggles and greatest disappointments with a bigger spirit and a deeper soul; more kind and gentle, thoughtful and mindful, empathetic and understanding of the whole human family; almost as though the Christ who will, tonight, be born, again, in Bethlehem, is also being born, again, in us; the kind of transformation which can only be explained by the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, a transformation so beautiful that it makes true, down here on the ground, what Gabriel said to Mary, back there on the page, “Nothing will be impossible with God.”

                                               Amen.