(I’m taking part in the Twitter #adventbookclub, reading “Beginnings and Endings” by Maggi Dawn; not every day will have a blog post.)
Todays passage from Luke chapter 1 is probably the most well-known story of an angelic visitation: “the angel Gabriel to Mary came”. As with many such accounts, Mary’s first reaction was perplexity, confusion, and probably fear; “do not be afraid” seems to be the standard angelic greeting!
Maggi Dawn points out that Mary also “pondered” what Gabriel meant by his greeting; something I hadn’t really thought of before is that this meeting wasn’t a simple back-and-forth conversation, but probably left space between the words for Mary to think about what was happening. Too often in our own conversations we don’t make this space, but respond quickly, perhaps even jump in without really listening to what the other person is saying.
Which brings me to Twitter. I still think of myself as a Twitter novice, despite now having made over 1400 tweets; I’m still learning how best to use this. For one thing, when I started I didn’t realise how interactive Twitter was: I though you just sent a tweet and other people read it if they wanted to and that was that. But many tweets are in response to someone else (about 3/4 of mine are replies), and some conversations can go on for quite a while.
Sometimes these conversations are almost real-time: if two (or more) people are active at the same time, they may respond to each other very quickly. But others are delayed; I may look at my timeline and see something that was posted several hours ago that I’d like to respond to. It’s still easy in these circumstances to respond quickly to what I see, and perhaps thoughtlessly; I’ve done this several times and sometimes regretted what I wrote!
But it doesn’t have to be like this. If a tweet was sent a few hours ago, it doesn’t really matter whether I respond as soon as I read it, or take a few minutes to consider my response – always assuming that the other person will be interested in what I reply anyway! And in fact, I find this delay quite helpful.
I do not describe myself as a social person; in particular I sometimes find conversation difficult when I don’t immediately know what to say. Having the time to ponder overcomes this to a certain extent. That doesn’t mean that what I reply is always good; I may still get things wrong and tweet something inappropriate! As I say, I’m still learning.
Because Gabriel gave Mary the time to ponder, and to consider how she might respond, she was able to give one of the greatest statements of trust and obedience: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
Let us take the time to listen to God and to one another, to ponder what our response might be, and to make that response one that is beneficial – on Twitter or “in real life”.