This post and this afternoon’s post of yesterday’s sermon will be the only two posts this week. Enjoy celebrating Christmas with your family tomorrow and see you on Monday of next week! Merry Christmas!
“And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” (ESV – Read the chapter)
How did you respond the last time God asked you to do something hard? Were you ready to go, or were you more hesitant in the face of the great unknown stretching out before you? When God calls us on an adventure of some kind, that’s a scary place to be. His adventures tend to go well beyond what we can manage or handle on our own. But in that unease is the promise of life.
God had just let Mary know He wanted to turn her world inside out and upside down. As we talked about in another note, getting pregnant before marriage then was a social death sentence. She had every reason in the world to say, “No way,” except for this: It was God asking. That meant He had a plan in mind. In fact, He shares some of the plan with her.
She would give birth to the Messiah. We don’t think about that in the same terms they did. The Messiah was the sum total of the hopes for a better life for every Jew in the Roman Empire. Theirs was a miserable estate for the most part and the Messiah was the one who was going to fix all of that. Now, He wasn’t supposed to come into the world through the womb of a poor, unmarried young woman, but I suspect the thought that she would be the mother of the Messiah helped push her at least a bit in the direction of yes.
There’s something else here too: Mary was likely young. Really young. Girls then were often married off by their fathers not long after they hit puberty. She could have been as young as 12 or 13. Why does that matter? Because young people see the world through a different set of lenses than the rest of us do. They see possibility where we only see roadblocks. They see opportunity for adventure and success where we see only challenges.
Well, this was the biggest opportunity and challenge that anyone was ever given. Had God come to a more sensible older woman, she may very likely have said no. Just think about how the more aged Zechariah responded to the same angel’s news that his barren wife would conceive by him and bear a son. The Message puts it like this: “Do you expect me to believe that?” Young, idealistic Mary simply said, “Let it be to me according to your word.”
She put her plans and any hopes for her future she had been storing away as any young girl does on hold and accepted the burden the Lord was setting in front of her. The rest, as they say, is history.
What kind of adventures is God calling you to take? Where is He inviting you into the unknown? When He does, may you respond with the faith and faithfulness of Mary. May you have the courage to set your plans and hopes and dreams to the side and embrace what God has to give you with all of its challenges and risks and dangers. May you receive the gift He has to give and the life that comes with it.