In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 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. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 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. 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. For nothing will be impossible with God.” 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.
The scripture for this past Sunday's devotion was Matthew's account of the coming of Jesus Christ, told from Joseph's perspective. Mary said not a word.
Today, we hear Luke's account, and it is Mary who receives the word from the angel Gabriel. Even though Mary speaks, we often portray Mary as a submissive servant of the Lord, a vessel without voice or authority. Most of those portrayals have been made by men.
Women who have heard this story bear witness to truth: Mary chose freely to be a servant of God. She could have said, "No." Instead, in the line of great prophets who preceded her in bearing the Word, she said, "Here am I."
I like to think there was considerable silence between the time of Gabriel's declaration and of Mary's assent - a pregnant pause, if you will.
God does not force us into new life kicking and screaming. God waits, holding the divine breath, for us to say, "Yes." Where is God inviting you to utter that word today? You can take as much time as you need to answer.