Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!
With this, the word of God comes to Mary. How difficult to think that God could favor one young girl so much that she would be chosen to bear the Savior of the world. What did this "favor" look like? A teenage girl had to deal with misunderstanding and scorn for bearing a child conceived without a husband. A young woman had to carry the burden of knowing that her son was not like other boys. A lady had to deal with uncertainty as her son grew to speak of a heavenly father. A mother grew to learn that while other mothers would release their sons to loving and beautiful brides that would bring them children and joy that her son would be released to world that would reject him despite his undying love for it. A mother watched her son suffer embarrassment, humiliation, and death for a cause that seems so lost. How unfair to the rest of humanity that God showed favor to Mary.
Is a blessing a blessing if it is not shared? As Christians, do we hear the words "greetings you who are highly favored." Too many of us hear those words and think that being set apart and favored by God means that we have somehow earned a place that sets us above the the drunkards, the pornographers, the gays, the fornicators, the greed of the market, the bigots, the poor, the illiterate, the prisoners, the thieves. A blessing from God on me doesn't make me better, it makes the world better. We pray for favor from God, we ask his blessing too often as nothing more than a selfish plea to give me a life of comfort, safety, prosperity. We should say, give me any life you wish. "I am the servant of the Lord, may it be unto me as you have said."
Advent is a preparation for the coming. Christ born into the world, Christ born in us. May you take the favor of the Lord as Mary and gladly bear the burden of Christ and the burden of His cross for a joy that transcends this world.