Advent, Beauty, Bible Readings, birds, Christian thought, creation, Gabriel, God, Gospel of Luke, Hawaii, hillside beach manitoba, humour, Jesus, Kauai, Messiah, nature, photography, Puerto Vallarta, Religion and Spirituality, Scripture, travel, vacation, worship
This is the 17th in a series of daily Advent reflections based on the appointed daily Bible readings.
As today’s theme is ‘nothing is impossible with God’, I thought I’d find some photographs of God’s creation. Nothing can be impossible to the one who created all this!
Todays reading is Luke 1:26-38. Click on this link to read the text on Oremus Bible Browser. This is a continuation of the birth narrative and the actions leading up to the birth, according to Luke. Luke’s is the account most are familiar with. It includes the Angel Gabriel‘s visit to Mary (today’s excerpt), the need for the family to travel to Bethlehem, the lack of accommodation for Mary and Joseph and the birth of the child in the stable or animal room, and being laid in a feeding trough. Then the announcement of the birth to the shepherds. But, we will arrive there later.
Having visited Elizabeth, Mary’s elderly cousin, over six months ago, Gabriel now visits the young girl Mary and gives her unbelievable news. She has been chosen by God to give birth to a very special man. Mary, is shocked, and asks how it can be as she has not had sexual relations with anyone. Gabriel explains that this will be different, that she will become pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. As a proof of the power of God, Gabriel tells her about Elizabeth, how she is now six months pregnant in her old age, even though she had been barren. Then Gabriel says these words, which I think we need to remember; “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Nothing is impossible for God! What wonderful words to be hearing and taking into our hearts this Advent. As we wait, and prepare, we don’t need to think everything is up to us. So many things seem beyond us. But for God, nothing is impossible. One of the greatest needs in this world is for people’s hearts to change. It has been said that you change the world, not by changing people’s minds, but by changing their hearts. Maybe this has to be done one heart at a time.
We are all heart-broken over the senseless killing of the innocents in Newtown. We must change hearts so that these kinds of tragedies stop.
But we fail to remember that daily there are tragedies even greater than what occurred in Newtown. I am sorry if this offends anyone, but please read on. Every day, every day! hundreds of children die from the world’s neglect. From our neglect. Hundreds of children dying daily from malnutrition when there is plenty of food. Hundreds of children dying daily from diseases for which there is adequate medicine, if only we would allow it to be shared. Hundreds of children dying daily from lack of clean, safe water. Once during a three minute talk I demonstrated how over thirty children had died, while I was speaking! IN THREE MINUTES! And this goes on every 3 minutes.
I read an article many months ago that spoke about the billions of dollars that Americans would be spending on Christmas. When you add other nations to this the amount is staggering. If we put aside just 5% of that spending we could permanently solve one of these problems each year – just 5%! Who wouldn’t be willing to take just 5% of their Christmas budget and contribute it towards one of these critical activities – clean water, food distribution, supply of vaccines…if we believed it would be done. How much would you give up to save hundreds of more children dying today? What would it take for you to believe it would happen?
I feel so small and insignificant, so impotent, I wonder, ‘what can I do?’ Then I remember the angel’s words “For nothing will be impossible with God.” Mary, after hearing these words from the Angel and realizing the enormity of what God was asking and offering her, replied ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’
This Advent let us each pray to hear how God would like us to change our hearts, hear what God is calling us to do. If we are truly appalled by the terrible killings in Newtown, if we are grieved by the daily suffering and deaths of hundreds of children, what shall we do? The task may sound impossible for us, but remember nothing will be impossible with God.