Life is full of announcements. Announcements about flights in airports, sales in stores and activities in churches. Announcements about newborn babies, people who have died, couples who are getting married. Announcements make a difference to us to the degree that they affect our lives. If the announcement has something to do with us, we tend to pay attention. If it seems unrelated to anything that affects us, we probably will not really listen to it or ignore it altogether.
As Christmas approaches, we are reminded of an announcement made 2,000 years ago that was probably one of the most troubling and magnificent announcements ever made. It was made by an angel named Gabriel to a young woman named Mary. Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to conceive and bear a child who would be called the Son of God. The announcement was that by the power of the Holy Spirit, God would become a human being just like us so that we would come to know the immensity of God’s love for us.
As troubling and perhaps confusing as it was at first, Mary heard what the angel was announcing and said yes, she would do what God wanted to do through her. Because of Mary’s yes to that announcement, here we are a few days away from another Christmas. Once again we are invited to hear of God’s wondrous love in sending his son Jesus to redeem and transform us and all of humanity. Like other announcements our hearing of that announcement is influenced by what is going on in our lives right now. For some it is a time of grief, disappointment, illness or hardship. For others it is a time of prosperity, health and success.
Even though the circumstances of our lives are different and always changing, the Christmas announcement remains the same. Whether it is easy or difficult to hear this Christmas, the announcement is that God sent his beloved son Jesus to be with us in all of it because we, too, are God’s beloved. Now that is an announcement worth paying attention to.
A blessed Christmas to all,
The Very Rev. Christopher Smith, rector