DayBreaks for 12/21/11 – You Call This Good News?
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” 29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:26-33
“Survivor” is a reality show that is one of the most successful franchises in television history. It started in 1992 in Britain and has spread to play in over 50 countries as diverse as Chile and China.
If you’ve seen it, you notice how quickly the 16-20 strangers separate into two groups, no matter how many “tribes” there are. In one group are those who, in the face of the unexpected, meltdown, freeze, or fold. In the other group are those who cope, manage, and overcome when the unforeseen rears its head.
This difference in ability and mobility is less dependent on the facts, and far more dependent upon faith. All “Survivor” stories combine components of grace and good luck, grit and gumption. But at the very base of those who “survive” in the face of surprising challenges, are those who have faith. When it is just too hard to hang on, we need another we can hang on to.
First century Palestine was not a progressive society. Jews and Gentiles, Jewish and pagan, iron-fisted Roman rulers and oppressed subjects lived in an uneasy, unequal social equilibrium. In the first century there were clear “haves” and “have-nots.” Getting on one of these “who’s not” lists had far more social, political, and even “Survivor” repercussions than any Christmas “naughty and nice” list.
In the 21st century it is hard for us to hear how the angel Gabriel’s “good news” sounded to Mary. In the 21st century it is not a death sentence for an unwed woman to receive a birth notice. It was then. That is exactly what Mary heard at that moment of angelic visitation…
The good news wasn’t about how things would be great with the pregnancy and with Mary’s life, rather, it was about the outcome of the life of her baby…and it was not just good news, but GREAT news…even for Mary herself because she, too, would be saved by her son.
PRAYER: Lord, at the times when we can’t see the good in a situation, remind us of Mary and the hidden power You wield to bring redemption from even a single life. Let us trust that the good news is truly good and not second guess Your work!!! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2011 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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