Mark Lowry, known for his singing and as a comedian, spent many years with the Gaither Vocal band. What you may not know is that he wrote, "Mary, Did You Know?", a song that came from his meditation written for a Christmas program at his church. In 1984, he was asked to write a song for Advent. He came up with questions he might ask Mary about her son, Jesus. Using that story and the words of Luke 1:26-38, Dr. Daniel offered a challenging sermon today. Another question: could Mary know? The angel, Gabriel, brought a message to her that was beyond comprehension -- that she is highly favored by God, and will give birth to a son who will be great and holy, and called the Son of God. How? The Holy Spirit will come upon her, and the power of the Most High will overshadow her. Despite all that Gabriel promised and prophesied, Mary could not understand. One more question: what does it mean to be highly favored of God? It does not mean the life ahead will be a bed of roses. Being favored does not protect from the hurts, bumps and bruises, or struggles of life. It does not insulate from disappointments. Favor is God's choice to accomplish God's purpose. For Jesus' birth, Mary was God's choice. Think about who we tend to call, or assume to be, favored by God. It's not as it appears through human eyes or using the world's standard. God favored Mary, and gave her the promise that nothing is impossible with God! Then note Mary's response: "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." Let us be thankful that she said, "yes." Obedience is not a popular term in today's "do your own thing" world. But those who do great things for God are people who obeyed God -- Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mary. And obedience is still important today in working with God. As we continue our preparation this Advent season, consider who we call blessed/favored and what we call impossible!
Gene Kelsey, Director of Christian Education