eternal understatement

Annunciation20201979 photo from Jerald Melberg (c)1979

The award for the understatement of all eternity should go to the simply-spoken angel Gabriel.  Luke tells us that God sent him to Nazareth to speak to Mary, a young virgin who was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph.  So Gabriel went to her and politely said, "Greetings."  He then proceded to "deliver" the good news to Mary that she was highly favored and that the Lord was with her.

But Mary wasn’t so sure this was a good thing.  She was a bit afraid and greatly troubled at his words (can’t blame her- a bluntly-verbaged supreme angel was talking to her).  With his amazing angel abilities, Gabriel must have been able to see Mary’s discomfort at this little announcement.  So he decided he would try to reassure her with words that every young, unwed teenage girl wants to hear, "Don’t be afraid, Mary.  You’re pregnant!"  I’m sure that calmed her nerves, Gabe.

Trying to help the poor, er, I mean "favored" girl understand this predicament, er, I mean "blessing," the angel Gabriel went on to deliver her more information about this bundle of joy.  He told her she would be with child, that she’d give birth to a son, and that she was to name him Jesus.  Then Gabriel says, without shaking his wings, "Oh, and Mary, he will be great."  Uh, yeah. 

I can’t say I disagree one bit with Gabriel’s assessment of Jesus.  He would be great.  And that’s not over stating it either.  Jesus, simply, no argument, would be great.  Not kinda great.  He would be the definition, the model of greatness.  He would be completely great.  Masterfully great.  Awe-inspiringly, knee-shatteringly, jaw-droppingly, arms-raisedly great.  Soul-singfully, life-alteringly, full-out-abundantly, angel-dumbfoundedly great.  Gabriel couldn’t have said it any simpler.  Never before or since has one uttered such an eternal understatement.

To his credit, Gabriel did elaborate a bit on his little comment about Jesus.  Besides the fact that he would be great, Gabe tried to reassure the troubled Mary, her son will also be the Son of the Most High.  I’m sure that didn’t raise her blood pressure.  Furthermore, her son will inherit the throne of David, the greatest king of Israel.  "Oh, and, by the way," Gabe says, "Jesus will also reign over the house of Jacob forever- in fact, his kingdom will never end.  So watch what you eat and drink during your pregnancy, Mary."  (I added that last part.)

No pressure, Mary.  Don’t be afraid.  Your uterus will host God for about nine months.  No big deal.  Don’t worry.  And yeah, your son will be kinda great.

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