by the Rev. Andrew Kuyvenhoven
The Prince of Peace, the Son of David, was announced by Isaiah. The story of his coming was proclaimed by the evangelists, each with a different emphasis. Jesus made God's kingship real in this world. Today, the kingdom is here—and it is coming.
[Gabriel) said to her [Mary], "Rejoice, so highly favored! The Lord is with you (Luke 1:28, Jerusalem Bible).
Mary was "betrothed" to Joseph. In Jewish law betrothal was a binding contract. Yet not until the bridegroom had taken the bride to his home (Matt. 1:24) would they live as man and wife.
Gabriel greets Mary with words that have been sung a million times in the Latin version: "Ave Maria gratia plena" and said countless times as a prayer: "Hail Mary, full of grace." But the meaning of Gabriel's words has been mangled. When people pray, "Hail Mary, full of grace," they no longer mean that Mary received grace, but rather that she will give grace. Gabriel said that Mary was blessed or favored by God; but many people regard her as someone able to bless and to give favors!
The modern translation on this page is from a Roman Catholic Bible version. This one rightly corrects the "Ave Maria" version.
The angel's message is an echo of the message God's prophets brought to Israel: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!" (Zech. 9:9). "Sing, 0 daughter of Zion, be glad and rejoice" (Zeph. 3:14). When the time had fully come, God's ambassador, Gabriel, brought God's good news to an unassuming girl whose only glory was her virtue and her faith: "You will give birth to the Son of the Most High. You are more favored, more blessed and honored than anybody ever was or will be."
Praise her, not for what she can give, but for what she has received for herself and for all of us.
Andrew Kuyvenhoven's Daylight, a modern devotional classic, was originally published in 1994. This edition is copyright by Faith Alive Christian Resources, from whom may be ordered Daylight, the predecessor of Twilight.
A man of many accomplishments, Andrew Kuyvenhoven is probably best known for his contributions to Today (formerly The Family Altar), a widely-used monthly devotional booklet associated with the Back to God Hour. Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations for this edition of Twilight are from the New International Version