Hail Mary, Given Grace [T.F. Torrance and Grace in the Annunciation]

Tonight on Christmas Eve we celebrate the fact that to us a Savior was born. He was born in the little town of Bethlehem to a faith-filled virgin. Hear what T.F. Torrance has to say about Mary and the pattern of grace we see in the virgin birth…

The angel went to her and said "Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women."
The angel went to her and said “Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”

In the virgin birth we are given at the very beginning of Christ’s life a revelatory sign, which tells us what the divine act of grace is. Grace takes a form in the birth of Jesus which we may take as a pattern or norm for all our understanding of grace. Here God takes the initiative and approaches Mary through the word of his angelic messenger – the word proclaimed to Mary is the word of election or grace: she is chosen and told of God’s choice. She has nothing to do in this matter except what is done in her under the operation of the Spirit. What Mary does is simply to receive the word, to believe, which she does not in her own strength but in the strength given her by the Lord, and she is blessed because of that, not because of her virginity….

This is the normative pattern for the believer in his or her attitude toward the Word announced in the gospel, which tells men and women of the divine act of grace and decision taken already on their behalf in Christ. (Incarnation 101)

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