Honest Advent: Day 1

November 30, 2022, By: Crossroads Church

Day 1: Annunciation

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!” Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. Luke 1:28-29

Welcome to Advent 2022. I must confess, I did not grow up in a religious environment that celebrated Advent very liturgically. I didn’t grow up seeing the candles lit each week during our worship service, nor did we ever have Advent daily readings. The candles and the readings came later in life for me and have now been a part of my spiritual journey each year for over twenty years. Even though the candles and the annual journey to the manger are “routine,” each year I find myself welcoming this season into my heart with a new sense of awe and wonder.

As I read and pondered today’s writing on the Annunciation, I was struck with the emotions that Mary felt: confused and disturbed. Those are the words Luke uses to describe Mary’s internal state at the announcement by the Angel that God was with her. Those are two words I can relate to these days as I think about the divine workings of my life: confused and disturbed. But, I guess that is at the heart of mystery, at the heart of not being in control but instead being in love. I imagine we can all relate to being a bit confused and disturbed at what we believe God is up to in our lives. Mary and I are probably not alone in that experience.

Today, I am reminded that the Annunciation is for all of us. That God is with all of us, calling us into deeper ways of knowing and being that leave us confused and disturbed. And like Mary, despite our confused and disturbed disposition, we can open our lives up in obedience to this divine presence and trust in the power of goodness and mercy this Christmas season and beyond.

—Ryan Howell