The story in today’s readings is pretty fantastical. It’s about a virgin who becomes pregnant in a mysterious way. The whole story revolves around the idea of faith. Right in the middle of the Lenten season comes this the story of the Annunciation. It’s like hitting the pause button on the sack cloth and ashes thing to remind us that strange and wonderful things continue to happen in life. “Wonder” is the operative word here. It is like saying that the dark and rainy (or snowy) days will pass and the sun will shine again. (Unless you live in Portland of course). Even when crappy things happen there is hope that things will turn and become un-crappy. Some may ridicule faith based people as being unrealistic and not living in the real world. For these naysayers, the good, is unattainable. We are pawns. The dark cloud that hangs over their heads becomes a way of life. They may think that life is a series of strike downs and one should just roll over and take it. This story repudiates that notion and encourages us to take the slings and arrows of life and make something better out of them.

34 Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?’

35 The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.

36 And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month,

37 for nothing is impossible to God.’ (Luke 1:34-37)

Impossible things become possible. Optimism is the state of belief that things will turn out OK, maybe not the way we expected, but OK none the less. It’s different from a Pollyanna approach which is not rooted in reality but comes from an unrealistic view of life and the world. Optimism is grounded in reality with a strong hope for a brighter future. It is proactive rather than reactive.
and so it goes…