Advent 4C: Luke 1:35-38 “Impossible?”

From time to time, we’ve watched the silly obstacle course games on TV. From falling into vats of chocolate pudding, to being hosed off of a foam-covered ladder, the hapless folks who are trying to win a cash prize attempt to overcome all kinds of obstacles and hazards. Sometimes they succeed and you can almost hear the producers thinking, “HOW did they DO that?”

But the impossibility that we read about in this passage far exceeds that…

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come over you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the one who is to be born will be holy. He will be called God’s Son. Look, even in her old age, your relative Elizabeth has conceived a son. This woman who was labeled ‘unable to conceive’ is now six months pregnant. Nothing is impossible for God.”

Then Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it be with me just as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:35-38

“Nothing is impossible with God.”

The mind boggles. The honest, genuine question Mary asks is logical. “But how can this be?

Indeed. The biological impossibility makes skeptics roll their eyes and say, “Really? REALLY?”

Yes. Really.

When you move from the realm of the humanly impossible to a God-incident, there’s really nothing that can be dismissed. Miracles happen. Lives are changed. People are healed. And death is overcome. This theme of “impossible” spans the life and ministry of Christ.

Many years after this, when John the Baptist asks, “Is it really he? The Messiah? The one we have been waiting for?”

Jesus responded, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who were crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them. Happy are those who don’t stumble and fall because of me.” (Matt. 11)

No doubt about it. God can and does perform miracles every day. Not in the way we expect. Not within the confines of our religious prescriptions. And not with the same understanding of time and potential that we cling to with our limited human understanding.

The last thing that the Jewish people expected was a pregnant virgin. The last Deliverer they were looking for was the one who would cleanse them from sin. The biggest battles were won, but they weren’t even looking on that battlefield. Funny how that works.

Here’s the biggest issue: My “nothing” is far, far smaller than God’s. And yet, I doubt God’s ability to change the struggles and circumstances that trouble me.

“Nothing is impossible with God.”

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