December 6, 2013

And in the sixth month, the Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin affianced to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the Angel went in unto her, and said, Hail thou that art freely beloved: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and thought what manner of salutation that should be.
Then the Angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. For lo thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bear a son, and shalt call his Name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom shall be none end. Then said Mary unto the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not man? And the Angel answered, and said unto her, The holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy thing which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin, Elizabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is her sixth month, which was called barren. For with God shall nothing be impossible. Then Mary said, Behold the servant of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word. So the Angel departed from her. (Luke 1:26-38)

The passage above is taken from the 1599 Geneva Bible. Why this version when they didn’t even utilize quotation marks? The answer is that this was the version the Pilgrims used as they celebrated the first Christmas in the New English colonies. While there is no major difference from a modern translation, the phrasing of the angel’s answer is interesting, “For with God shall nothing be impossible.” While modern translations might read, “For nothing is impossible with God,” the Geneva text gives two points of focus that can be easily missed.

First, “with God” is crucial to our seeing the miracle of Christmas and God’s working the seemingly impossible in our lives. We cannot do it alone; we need to be “with God.”

Secondly, the word “shall” moves the action through the present to the future. God is not only able to move in our lives today, but every day until forever. Buzz Lightyear might paraphrase the verse to read, “shall nothing be impossible to infinity and beyond.” We have a future confidence and hope in our Lord.

These aspects must have spoken resoundingly to the early colonists as they faced the seemingly impossible tasks of new settlements in an untamed land.

As you reflect on the holiday season, remember “for with God shall nothing be impossible.”


Micheal Summers