Monday, December 2, 2013

The Christmas Story: Mary's Story

At Christmas time, I always think of Mary. She intrigues me. She was so young and inexperienced in life, but God knew exactly who to choose to be the mother of His son. Mary was exceptional in so many ways. I just can't imagine I would have handled all God asked of her with such faith and grace.

Mary's story is found in Luke 1:26 - 38:
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,  to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Many times I have tried to picture what it must have been like to be Mary. And truly...I can't even imagine it. She was so brave, accepting, calm, and faithful. Of course, her heart must have been racing. I'm sure it was all very overwhelming. How could it not be?

But then again...God has a wonderful way of equipping us to handle situations way beyond anything we think we can manage. God knew what was coming for Mary. He knew what He was asking of her. He knew all the doubt and ridicule she would have to endure. He knew the shame she would bear from people who would judge her.

But God knew what he was doing choosing Mary, because her only question was how will this be? Not why would God put me in this situation? Not why me? Not why now? No...her only question was how it could be possible.

Once the angel "explained" how, Mary didn't question it any further. She accepted it. That is amazing to me. Especially after that explanation, I'm sure she had to be full of questions! I mean, really, what did that mean? What in the world was that angel talking about? But Mary trusted God's plan, and she humbly accepted it.

When I think about Mary and how graciously she accepted what God was asking of her, I am shamefully convicted of the many times throughout my life where I have questioned God...repeatedly...about His plan.

Are you sure God? Why? Oh Why? This doesn't seem right! Why me? Why us? Why now? Ugh.

It's truly embarrassing.

Seriously, Mary's story humbles me and brings me to my knees in confession to the Lord. I want to be like young Mary. I want to have her faith. I want to trust God that much with His plan for my story.

I love the way this passage ends in verse 38, when Mary says, "I am the Lord's servant, may your word to me be fulfilled." This is my prayer today...that I will be brave and humble like Mary...that I will faithfully serve the Lord...without question...when He asks.

I am also struck by verse 37 where the angel says, "For no word from God will ever fail." I love that promise. It was a reassurance to Mary that with God nothing is impossible and that everything God says is truth.

And what a blessing that this promise is still true today. Mary's story is a very important part of the Christmas story and has always had a strong impact on me. She was the very first person to be told the details of this amazing story and she believed it! 

Mary trusted God without any proof and her belief not only saved her...but ALL who believe as well! 

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