December 16, 2022 by Rusty Shelton

January 19, 2023

Is opportunity knocking for you this holiday season?

How many opportunities have you missed in your life because you didn’t think you were ready, worthy or capable of rising to the challenge?

I wonder if that’s how Mary felt – at least initially – when the angel Gabriel appeared to her in Nazareth? Luke tells us she was both perplexed by the visit and then completely floored by the news that she would conceive a son named Jesus who would be called the Son of God. 

Mary asks  “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”

The angel replies “the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and therefore the child will be born.”

Mary responds “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”

Boiling this down – her initial reaction to this opportunity is familiar to many of us – Are you kidding? Nope, not happening – it’s not possible. I hear you, Mary. I would have told the angel the exact same thing. I’m overwhelmed just reading about it – I can imagine how you must have felt. But then Gabriel breaks out his Philippians 4:13 trump card and reminds Mary that all things are possible through God – even this.

Mary then does something I wish I did more of– she draws strength from her faith and leans in to the opportunity – despite what I’m sure was a fair amount of anxiety. As I was reading this text the thing I kept coming back to is this last detail – Mary being reminded by the angel that nothing is impossible through God and her drawing strength from that reminder to get over her initial fear and seize the opportunity.

Despite where we are right now with so many challenges happening in the world, I wonder if there is an opportunity sitting in front of you right now that you have been avoiding based on the mistaken feeling that you’re not ready, worthy or capable of rising to the challenge? 

If so, I hope the angel Gabriel’s reminder that nothing is impossible with God serves as a source of strength for you this holiday season. Like Mary, you can set out to confidently embrace the opportunities God provides for you with the full knowledge that all things are possible through him. 

Rusty Shelton

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