“Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28 NRSV).
The angel Gabriel appears to Mary with a greeting and refers to her as a favored one, a blessed person. We are not told of anything in Mary’s past that would signify such a greeting, so we must ascertain that this ‘favored’ bestowal from God is because, as scripture states, the Lord is with her. Even here we see that this blessed status with God is not something that is earned, but given to us by God. We are blessed because God is with us, and more specifically because God chooses to be with us.
In the same way, humanity did not do anything to deserve the birth of Jesus Christ, but it is an act of love from God for the purpose of blessing us. As the Gospel of Matthew tells us, “’Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us’” (Matthew 1:23). The blessing of salvation, and the ability to now live an abundant life, is ours because of the incarnation of the Son of God, who is God with us. Jesus who died for us, came to us so that we, too, could be greeted as a favored one, blessed because we are now children of God. We cannot earn God’s presence with us, God freely gives it out of love, and with a desire for us to know the blessing that can only be experienced in a life lived for him.
This advent season, may we remember that our blessings are gifts from God, unearned, and available to us because God is with us.