This morning I listened to the Sermon Brainwave podcast, where one of the presenters (Prof. Karoline Lewis) talked about Gabriel’s message to Mary ‘With God all things are possible.’ She wondered out loud at what point do we learn that all things are NOT possible.
In context, Lewis mentioned her little boy who wants a puppy for Christmas, but isn’t getting one. The mall Santa was coached to explain that he wasn’t getting one. For the little boy, all things were possible and he was shocked that he wasn’t getting what he wanted!
I think Prof. Lewis has a point, and I am wondering how this message will fit in with the Advent message that wants to proclaim with Gabriel, ‘With God all things are possible!’ The latter is an encouraging message, while the former keeps that bit of realism that keeps the optimism in check (with my pessimistic nature, I am always looking for the checks and balances!).
Is this a message paraphrasing Paul, ‘All things are possible, but not all things are probable’? Certainly, we do not look for virgins to bear children any more (OK, I realise we may not all be in agreement that God ever did it, but I believe he did once – I think this would still apply to either viewpoint). When does our faith in the God who for whom all things are possible become more of a wishing well hope that we will get what we want (whether puppies or churches that can go on as they always have forever)?
And is it possible, so to speak, to introduce that message four days before Christmas when it may seem that in a fear-stricken year (with the wars, economy, etc.) that I am not sounding as hopeful as the season of Advent calls for?
I have a specific reason for wondering this but that story will have to wait for now.