Day 5

December 7

Luke 1:26-38

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” 38 Then Mary said, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

Good News

by Sahr Mbriwa, D.Min.

What do you mean? How can this be? You can almost feel the anxiety rising with each question. Despite the unique gravity of her situation, Mary’s fear is understandable. After all, given the stress of everyday life, it is natural to assume the worst when disorienting events come our way.  

Prior to her encounter with the angel of the Lord, Mary and Joseph had in all likelihood begun to make plans and to envision in their minds what sort of life they would have together, the makeup of their family, the nature of their work, etc. Yet, in one moment, all of that would change. And so, Mary proceeds to do what each of us tend to do when experiencing uncertainty; she wonders to herself, “what is going on?” In response to her concerns, the angel of the Lord extends to her something that is both simple and uplifting: good news.  

Let us not underestimate the power of this act, to give and receive good news. Based on this scene with Mary, and earlier with Zechariah and Elizabeth (not to mention the rest of the gospels), it seems that it is the nature of the kingdom of God to surprise us with good and not evil; to bring about in our lives what we had not planned but nevertheless nourishes us in ways we could not have imagined. For example, despite routinely appearing to be fine on the surface, I struggle with depression. Certain months of the year are worse than others. During these times, one expression that my family likes to say, and which has been helpful to me is, “look for the light.” That is, even when situations are overwhelming or discouraging, there are still glimmers of light to be found… in a hug, a delicious meal, laughter among friends and colleagues. 

For Mary, good news came in the form of the message that through her would come the promised messiah, Jesus, meaning God saves. For me, good news has come regularly through family and friends who remind me that there is light in the darkest of times. For you, the reader, what is or has been good news? And how might you be an agent of good news to others? 

Let us also not forget that the good news delivered to Mary is part of a broader story in which we all have been invited to consider, and take part, namely: God knows you and loves you fully; in Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, he binds your life to His; and whatever today may bring, he offers this promise, “don’t be afraid, I am with you.”  

About the Author

Sahr Mbriwa, DMin

Sahr Mbriwa, D.Min.

Sahr Mbriwa, D. Min., serves the students, faculty and staff of the Louise Herrington School of Nursing as Chaplain and Coordinator of Campus Ministry. In his role, Mbriwa also helps connect students to ministry opportunities and discipline-specific missions, helping them to connect their faith and vocation through experiential learning opportunities. 

In addition to his responsibilities as Chaplain, he also teaches on spiritual formation and ethics and has presented and published numerous articles related to pastoral care and practical theology. Mbriwa has served in various leadership roles over the last decade as a pastor and non-profit program director working with at-risk children and their families. He holds a D.Min. in Urban Mission from Missio Seminary. Sahr and his wife, Lisa, live in Dallas, TX, with their five boys.