One of my favorite lines from the "annunciation to Mary" gospel text (Luke 1:28-36) is when Gabriel assures Mary that if she agrees to become the mother of the savior, that she’ll have at least one person who will understand (v. 36). “And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Talk about an angelic understatement.
"Mary, don’t worry, your relative Elizabeth is going to have a baby too. Everyone thought she was barren, but God opened her womb. Of course, Elizabeth and her husband did this thing the old-fashioned way but this is still a little miracle from God. You, on the other hand, are doing something a little different. No Joseph, just God. I know this seems impossible..."
If Elizabeth's pregnancy seemed impossible, Mary's was impossible. And that is ultimately the great hope of Christmas. God does the impossible.
In many ways, what we most need to get is impossible. What every human soul is longing for can’t possibly be gotten or grabbed, bought or earned. What the world needs is something impossible so that they will make no mistake that God is up to something. Because “nothing will be impossible with God.”
Advent is to be a season where we reflect on all the things that we CANNOT do, so that we become even more aware of what we need God TO do. And nowhere is this more clear than we consider the usual Christmas wish about “peace on earth”, or “joy to the world”. We have to remember that CHRISTMAS does not bring or inspire peace or joy, but instead celebrates that which only God can accomplish.
But perhaps even more personally, what is the impossible thing that you need God to accomplish in your life? Could this Advent be a season where you continually yield to God’s word and will, trusting the Spirit to do what we cannot? Because while God’s ways are certainly not our ways, “nothing will be impossible with God.”
As we enter into Advent, let me encourage you to prayerfully consider this question: What is the thing you need to stop doing so that God can do what only he can do in your life?