We live trapped, surrounded by walls.
We come to understand precisely what falls within our reach and what beyond. We learn early not to push the envelope, not to think beyond reality as it has been served to us with all its hard, claustrophobic barriers.
It’s hard to breathe. But we get enough air to go on, so we do.
For nothing will be impossible with God. (Luke 1:37 ESV)
Mary the mother of Jesus finds the well-regarded limitations of divine intervention punctured by angels who can’t stop saying crazy things.
Along the way, she finds out that she is not the only woman falling pregnant under the oddest of circumstances. Her relative Elizabeth, sprightly perhaps but unmistakably old, is expecting. Indeed showing, for it is already the sixth month.
What’s more, Elizabeth is one of those unfortunates—everyone knew this—who could not have children.
That’s gone, the angel advises Mary, who has not even been given time to stop reeling from the shock of her own announced pregnancy.
If Mary stands apart from the rest of us, it is perhaps because she could say words like this against the cold breath of impossibility:
And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38 ESV)
She was somehow unscandalized by it all.
Having taken note of this, the angel immediately departs. He’s busy, has work to do.
As I write this, I am terrified, exhilarated by impossible things. They’re at the window, not yet in the house, announcing themselves, tapping insistently on the pane. They raise hope, elicit then ease fear. They remind a man that he still knows nothing about that boundary, that frontier, that line between things that can be.
And those that could never be. Impossible things.