Holy Terror

Apparently being chosen by God for something wonderful is also a bit scary.

Think about it– every time angels show up, there is the admonition to “fear not!” 

Have you ever noticed how often through the nativity story (and scripture as a whole) people are told to fear not? This thread of response leads me to believe that having an angel appearance and invitation may not be so much comforting and exciting, as shocking and terrifying. 

When God’s call is revealed in our lives, most often it is overwhelming because God asks of us things we cannot do on our own. God invites us to be challenged, to be vulnerable, and to be reliant on the Spirit’s guidance. 

When God invites us to participate in the kingdom it requires giving our very selves.

Our culture says that pain and discomfort are to be avoided at all costs. But the stories of our faith tradition remind us that grief and joy, lament and rejoicing, excitement and terror are all a part of what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

Mary’s song (Luke 1:46-55) is this beautiful proclamation of God’s favor and blessing. Despite her initial fear and hesitation, Mary yields to God’s invitation for her life.

What is often reduced to a simple plot point on the timeline of Christ’s arrival is a very complex and amazing story of its own. Mary’s joy was first an individual and internal faith experience. 

This series of events began because of God’s specific call to one person who said yes. And yet to be made fully known, this experience had to unfold over time and be made known to all. Mary’s great joy took great trust and great patience. 

What might God be inviting you to do?

How can you demonstrate great trust?


Drawn from a chapel talk prepared for Central Christian School this is part three of three Advent Reflections.

Published by shergerber

Pastor, momma & home baker in the Shenandoah Valley

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