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 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:30 

 Mary had a right to be frightened.  As a rule of thumb, first century societies were not kind to unmarried women who found themselves pregnant. Stoning wasn’t out of the realm of possibility, which is why in Matthew’s account of the story, Joseph quietly called off the engagement (an act that could be seen as gracious given the circumstances). 

 Finding herself pregnant could have landed Mary in some hot water (and probably did on some levels), which is why Mary’s response of faith was so incredibly remarkable. “Here I am, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” 

 It’s not that she wasn’t afraid (she probably was), it’s that her faith in God overcame that fear.  That incredible inner strength is what makes Mary unique and a true model of faith for us all.

  We all carry fear and anxiety with us everywhere we go.  We are afraid of what will happen if we take that new job.  We’re afraid of what will happen to our kids.  We’re afraid of climate change.  We’re afraid of dying.  

 It can be overwhelming.  

 But God asks the same thing of all of us – Do not be afraid – not because there is nothing to fear, but because we trust that God is with us in our fear.  

 Thanks be to God. Amen