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Interrupted by God.

Rev. Enoch Thompson | December 24, 2023 | Luke 1:26-34


Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. Luke 1:29 (NIV)



For the next two days, we will interrupt our reflections in Nehemiah and give attention to the interruption of God in the sad story of lost humanity when God took on the form of a human baby and was born in Bethlehem.

We love our peace and our peace of mind, to know that things are under control, and on the normal path that we have it all arranged for. Anything that interrupts our day, our plans, and our life, is considered unwelcome, and we try as much as we can to avoid them.

When we celebrate Christmas and reflect on the birth of the Saviour of the world, it is important to see that God did not only step into the human story but stepped into the personal and individual story of the characters involved in the Christmas narrative.


In the Annunciation, the text of our reflection today, a young, betrothed Israelite woman in the quiet backwater setting of Nazareth was jostled by the visitation of Gabriel, an angel of God. Visits by unannounced relatives or friends may surprise us and call for reorganising our day or schedules. To talk of an uninvited, unexpected angelic visit takes the interruption and shock to another level.

The message of the uninvited angelic visitor interrupts Mary’s life further. She was a virgin pledged to be married to Joseph, a young carpenter, and the message of the angel was that by the choice of the favour of God, she was to conceive and give birth to a son whose name had been predetermined, Jesus. Further details about this son to be born were staggering: “³²He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, ³³and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." Luke 1:32-33 (NIV). Mary’s logical and reasonable response to this avalanche of surprises is "How will this be," ..., "since I am a virgin?" Luke 1:34 (NIV).


I want us to reflect on the fact that God still sends messengers and messages to us, and His Word points us in directions that interfere with and redirect our life journeys. Generally, Christian conversion should interrupt our natural human course and direction. If our commitment to Christian discipleship (Kingdom citizenship), does not bring us to the point where we ask, “How can I live this life of God since I am only a human being,” then we need to look more intently into the demands of the Bible and the demands of God upon our personal lives.



Do you feel that the Christian walk is making demands upon your choices and your behaviour? Do you feel called to ministry and to action that takes you away from your comfort zone? Or do you feel led to give to support some worthy Christian cause, when you think you could use those monies for personal purposes? Well, God still interrupts our lives for His purposes, glory, and betterment of humanity. Let’s learn to submit to the divine interruptions!


Dear Lord, I thank you for your interruptions, if I may call them so. I submit to your will and pray for grace to follow where you lead. Please forgive me for the times I have not allowed your will to be done in and through me.

For your dear Name’s sake, Amen.





DAILY word study: GREATLY TROUBLED The phrase Greatly Troubled is translated in Greek as διαταράσσω (diatarassō). It means " To agitate thoroughly, to throw into great commotion or stir up, to disturb greatly. Throughout the Bible, the term διαταράσσω is employed in instances where individuals encounter the divine or receive messages from God. These moments are often accompanied by a sense of awe and trepidation. Examples: Matthew 2:3 (when the wise men inquired about the birth of Jesus from King Herod), Luke 1:12 (Zechariah's encounter with the Angel), Matthew 14:26 (when the disciples saw Jesus walking on the lake) The use of διαταράσσω underscores the profound impact of Gabriel's presence on Mary. It suggests a deep emotional and spiritual disturbance caused by the extraordinary nature of the angelic visitation. This term is not just about fear; it implies a reverential awe in the face of the divine. Mary's inner being was stirred at the divine encounter, signifying the weightiness of the message she was about to receive. Mary's reaction reveals the inherent human response when confronted with the divine. It highlights the frailty of humanity in the presence of the sacred. The use of διαταράσσω portrays the clash between the ordinary and the extraordinary. Mary's troubled state symbolizes the tension between the finite human understanding and the infinite divine revelation. The phrase "greatly troubled" in Luke 1:29 captures the essence of Mary's encounter with the divine. It invites us to contemplate our responses to God's unexpected interventions in our lives, encouraging a posture of awe, humility, and surrender. Reflections: How do we respond when faced with unexpected or divine interventions in our lives? Do we, like Mary, experience a sense of disturbance and awe at the unfolding of God's plans?

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