Luke records the following in chapter 1, verses 26-31:
And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS.
The inclination is to focus on verse 31 which reads: And, behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shall call his name JESUS. But I am drawn to the angel pronouncing and declaring to this young woman “thou art highly favored” and “thou hast found favor with God.”
The idea that some find more favor with God smacks up against my sense of fairness. How dare God show favor to one and not to another? Western Christians have problems with this, because we want to believe that people should earn everything they receive.
Yet, right there it is in the Bible: “highly favored and favor with God.” We can't ignore that.
Reuben P. Job's latest book is, "When You Pray: Daily Practices for Prayerful Living." Job asks his readers if they believe that God trusts them. He doesn't ask if they believe God loves them. Job asks, "Do you believe that God trusts you?"
I submit that God demonstrated a great deal of trust in Mary when he chose her to carry his son for nine months and then become the mother of Jesus. Whatever leadership position or responsibility God has allowed you to have is indication that God is willing to risk his trust in you.
Perhaps Mary is not the only favored one. Maybe the challenge is to see how God has shown favor to you – and continues to show his favor. Maybe the challenge is to accept – not only with intellectual assent but also with your heart – that God trusts you. In fact, the very fact that God would allow his son to be wrapped in human flesh and dwell among us must mean that God trusts you. Now what shall we do with that?
I leave you with Mary’s reply in verse 38: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.
Christmas implies that God trusts you. Have a Merry Christmas, but please do contemplate what it means to be favored with God's trust.