“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.” (vv.26-27)
Sometimes our God is described as the God of small things. We can find such a God in today’s gospel. The angel Gabriel is sent to Nazareth. Historically, the city had little significance in Jewish history. The population was only about 150 people. None of the Old Testament prophets ministered there. It is in this context that Nathanael asks Philip “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” when he says that he has seen Jesus (John 1:46). Thus the angel of God enters into this small village, which has absolutely no significance.
Secondly, the heroine of this story is a little girl named Mary. Women generally had no place in Jewish culture. It was a culture that was basically patriarchal. It is interesting to pay attention to this daily prayer of Jewish man, “I would praise you for not making me a woman, a Gentile, or a slave.” Not only did women not have freedom of expression in public, but she was considered the property of men. Thus God comes to a woman who is not valued in society.
That being said, it does not matter whether we are small or great. God cares for the marginalized and the downtrodden in society. He seeks out the sick and the lost. If you have the thought that no one loves you and no one needs you, listen to what he has to say to you. I need you now.