In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.”
I am currently involved in an art project called ‘Words on the Street’. Having spent nearly 10 years encouraging other people to explore their creativity, it’s been a bit of a shock being on the receiving end of an art project. This project is all about me, and I’ve found it quite a challenge. Despite describing myself as a creative person, I am not exactly brimming with confidence in my own artistic ability. I know that creativity is important for other people, and that has been enough to motivate my arts ministry in Gateshead. I am used to having faith in other people’s ability, but I’m not always quick to believe in my own.
As part of the project I had to have a chat with a poet. The idea was that she would ask me a few questions and write a poem about me. We met for coffee and I was utterly stuck for words to express myself. I came out with a series of what I thought were disconnected words and phrases, a stream of consciousness that sounded like nonsense. Something strange happened however when she read them back to me. ‘You’re speaking poetry’ she said. What I thought was a failure in language was, to her anyway, perfectly recognisable as metaphor and simile. I had succeeded in expressing myself, but only because someone had given me the opportunity. She had believed in me, and her faith filled me with hope.
Expressing your unremitting faith in someone can have serious consequences in our lives. God believed in Mary, and she heard the voice of an angel. Mary believed the message of the angel, and trusted that Joseph would stick by her through thick and thin. Joseph believed in Mary, and trusted that the child she was to bear was to be the saviour of the world. Elizabeth believed that God would provide her with a child, even in her old age. God believes in us, even if we find it hard to believe in ourselves. Before we can have faith in God, we first need to trust that God has faith in us. I pray that you may hear the message of an angel this Christmastime – ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’
Jim has been working as Community Arts Chaplain in Gateshead for the last 10 years. He is married with two children, and is convinced that we can only understand Jesus if we think of him as an artist.
Think about writing a short poem on the theme of ‘hope’. Go on give it a go, what is stopping you?! Initially your musings may appear like gobbledygook, but have faith in yourself. If you struggle, start with the phrase ‘For me, hope is…’. If you’re feeling brave why not share it with a friend or even on our Facebook Page? If not so brave, then share it with God!