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"Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!"
(Luke 1:28b).         Read Luke 1:26-28.
One of the most coveted roles among the girls in our
Sunday school Christmas program was the Virgin
Mary. Her big moment was when she gently wrapped
a baby doll in cloths and laid him in the manger. But
another sought-after part was the angel Gabriel. Since
that required memorizing a larger part, it usually was
given to an older student.
The angel Gabriel had already brought some great
messages to Daniel and Zechariah, but nothing could
compare with the message God entrusts to him now.
He goes out from the presence of God to a city in the
northern region of Galilee called Nazareth. There he
appears to a virgin who is betrothed to a man named
Joseph. Her name is Mary. Gabriel greets her with
reassuring words, "Greetings, O favored one, the Lord
is with you!"
But what is so special about Mary? Why has God
chosen her for this singular honor above all other virgins
in Israel? Actually, there is nothing special about Mary.
She is a sinner like you and me, and needs God's grace
and favor just like we all do. The focus is upon God; He
has chosen a simple person like her to be the mother
of His Son.
Each of us who celebrate with joy our Savior's birth has
been favored by our God the same way as Mary. Like her,
we deserved nothing but God's wrath, but instead He
showers His grace and forgiveness on us through the
Christmas Child. And just as Mary was favored to bring
the Christ Child into the world, we are favored to bring
Christ Jesus to the nations.
Heavenly Father, You showed us Your favor by calling us
by name and making us Your own children through faith in
Jesus Christ. Bless us now to share that favor with others
as we share Jesus' story. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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