Summary: The surprise announcement and coming of Christ gives us His love.
December 9, 2007
There are some surprises that are wonderful. A surprise birthday party! A surprise visit by a dear friend. A surprise check in the mail.
✵ Russian poet Boris Pasternak said, “Surprise is the greatest gift which life can grant us.”
✵ Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a series of surprises, and would not be worth taking or keeping if it were not.”
Or we can take Jane Austen’s view, she claims, “surprises are foolish things. The pleasure is not enhanced and the inconvenience is often considerable.”
Keijo Kopra, was on his way home from work, when he was pulled over for driving 14 miles an hour over the speed limit. You would figure the fine would be around $120. But not in Finland where fines are based on the severity of the offense and your income. The officer wrote him a ticket for $14,500.
Enraged, the executive challenged the amount in court, and a judge lowered it to $9,000. But then the police mentioned that Mr. Kopra had received two previous speeding tickets in 1999 before the new system went into effect. Based on the income he had claimed at the time, each fine was $750. The judge was outraged and imposed additional fines of $38,000.
When we look at surprises, think about Mary. Mary was doing nothing that seemed extraordinary, she was living her life as she believed she should. Then the surprise came, and along with her surprise was the miraculous mixed in with the ordinary.
The annunciation of Jesus, to Mary is a declaration that is both beyond us, and yet within us. It’s at the same time greater than our life experiences and, yet, descriptive of the events that make up life. Into Mary’s common, everyday hopes and dreams, comes the incredible, the fantastic, and the surprisingly awesome call of God. And that call, shatters and changes Mary’s life . . . forever.
With the angel, Gabriel’s first words, the change begins, “Greetings, favored one, the Lord is with you.” Those words ended normalcy for Mary. Have you ever pictured Mary as that care free teenager?
Picture her, lost in the dreams of a young woman waiting to be married. She thinks about her upcoming marriage and the celebration the entire community would participate in. After all, she has Joseph, from the honored line of King David. She spends time writing in her journal Mrs. Yoseph ben Yacov (Joseph, son of Jacob). We can imagine her as she day dreams about Joseph, he’s good and righteous, but he’s good looking to . . . and we know the thrill within her, even the anxiety, as she anticipates their wedding day. She’s thought about baby names, and how they will announce this to family and friends. But first, they’ll wait a few years.
Then the angel of the Lord comes and declares, “The Lord is with you,” and her dreams collapse. . . and change. The angel says, “Mary, God has chosen you to bear a child, and the Lord declares “The Spirit of God will cause it.”
How do we even begin to imagine Mary’s confusion and fear. She must have wondered how will this happen? What will Joseph think? He knows the law. Will he believe me? I can’t be pregnant, this is so illegal . . . will he have me stoned. What am I going to do?