To prepare for Advent and Christmas this year, I looked at the account in the Gospel of Luke of Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel. To be honest, I was moved by Mary’s reaction to the heavenly visitation.
A careful reading of the New Testament—and perhaps the entire Bible—reveals that women often respond to God more honourably and quickly than men.
Notice how Gabriel greeted Mary as “one highly favoured,” and said, “the Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). Later in the same narrative the Angel said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God” (Luke 1:30). I was struck in a new way by Mary’s profoundly positive faith toward God.
Given the shame that would have been heaped on her, it’s incredible to see that she remained open to God’s call. This woman of faith had a deep piety that helped her trust God—which was even more amazing in combination with her intense desire to serve the Lord: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38).
I am deeply convicted and challenged by Mary’s response to the difficult task God asked of her. What a woman of faith! What a willing participant in the plan of God! What a capacity for unselfishly taking on the mandate of the Lord!
My hope and prayer is that each of us would have the courage, faith, and servant heart of Mary to follow God’s call.
On behalf of the President of the CBAC, Mr. Andrew Hopper, the Council and the CBAC staff, we extend to you and your family our sincere hope that you will have a joyous Advent season. Thank you for your faithful support of our shared ministries and your partnership in the Gospel as we continue to serve the Lord Jesus Christ together.
Rev. Dr. Peter Reid
Executive Minister, Canadian Baptists of Atlantic Canada