It is night. Three figures in a small, gloomy room. A young woman asleep. A dark hooded shadow stands beside her and a veiled light emanates from a third figure who stands away from the other two. The dark shadow speaks.
It comes to this. Did you think I would be vexed? How little you know me! I relish this with my entire magnificent being. The celestial chessboard is set. Do you hear and see, you burnished muscle-bound clown? Your Master is doomed. This is my world, my terms. As tiny as the width of a hair, the Son of God a zygote cell, within the feeble flesh of an inconsequential human cockroach. She isn’t even aware of it yet! How easy to crush the life from them both.
The veiled light takes a step forward.
But that would be too simple, too painless, would it not Gabriel? For millennia I have studied the human vermin. I know every weakness, every fissure in human nature. Adam could not withstand me. Nor Noah, Moses, Daniel, Job. Name for me one person, just one, who resisted me?
You remain silent … and well you do. He comes as a frail human the shadow sniggers quietly … who would have thought. He too … will fail. Who then will rescue mankind from me?! My prey. My legitimate reward. They will be mine forever. O the plans I have. No longer cloaked in shadow, I will burst forth in splendour as almighty god. The best of my past protégés will be as saints when I am unhindered. Your Master will walk the path first. His every breath baptised in temptation, betrayal, hatred, lies, pain. My glory … human suffering … their stupidity. In His I will glory the most. And when He fails … O the bliss of the thought … He too … will be mine!
The shadow’s outline quivers as it releases an ecstatic groan.
Have you no imagination Gabriel? Watch and see what I inflict upon your Master. Stand and brace yourself, for you cannot touch me, you are forbidden. He must tread the human pathway fully as a human, not as a god. This I know … for am I not the god of this world! Tremble Gabriel. Tear your ethereal robes in despair. Your Master says He comes to save the human race … but who will save Him?!
Gabriel moves, veiled glory flowing as liquid gold across the floor, stopping just short of the shadow.
You speak some truth Lucifer.
No, stay your words, it is my time to answer. We stood united amidst the holy fire on the mountain of God, eternal brothers beside the glorious throne of the Exalted One. We knew nothing except joy and bliss, the whole creation pulsating only with selfless love and delight. I would have given my very existence for you. Why?! What have you gained?! If you desired the anguish of all heaven then you have it. Now go! Your time is not yet come.
The shadow laughs as it delivers a mocking bow. As it bends, the top of its head enters Gabriel’s light. A sound like the sizzling of burning flesh. The laugh cuts-off, the shadow disappears. Gabriel goes to the bedside of the sleeping woman.
Sleep on favoured lady, I am with you. I am not God to know your future, yet I am certain the way will not be easy. Within your womb is the One who created you, who created us all. He has arrived into enemy territory. O that He would come with the armies of heaven. One day but not this time. He comes to do hand to hand mortal combat as a frail human being, against the most powerful of angels ever created. Lucifer is correct; I tremble for my Commander.
Lucifer despises my Lord beyond all reason. When Love is rejected, only the cadaverous stink of hatred remains. He must greedily feed on the pain and corruption of others, as he has starved himself of all that truly satisfies.
Twice I have seen rebellion Mary. Heaven’s pain; one third of my heavenly comrades denying their Creator in petulant insurrection and egotism, forever lost yet forever wounding Love’s heart. I know every name. Every unique individual precious. And when your first parents joined the rebellion, I thought it meant earth to be lost forever also, helpless under Lucifer’s despotic rule.
Elation filled all of heaven when our Father and Son told us there was hope; there was a plan. Yet our triumph became horror as we learned the cost to the Son, the Creator of all, the exact representation of our Father. God the Son to become human, live as a human, suffer and die as a human … to recover mankind. No! It could not be. I offered myself. I wince as I think of it now. Only the Creator can redeem His creation.
Rest Mary. Soon you will know. Your body cradles the long-awaited Messiah, the only hope for all nations, your Lord and mine. God with us.
Pam Driver attends Glen Innes church in Auckland, NZ.