Mary, Did You Know?

On the way to Bethlehem. So often at Christmas time my thoughts turn to Mary. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to misplace any of the worship onto Mary but I do think about her a great deal. I feel like I can relate to her in some way. Just so we’re clear, I’m aware God didn’t choose me to carry the Son of God in my womb. I’m also aware I didn’t give birth to Him. What I can relate to is being surprised by my circumstances. What I relate to is the feeling of not being ready for what God has called me to.

When I was pregnant with my first, I remember reading in Luke 1 about the angel Gabriel coming to tell Mary she was pregnant with Jesus. You all know the story. Mary, the unwed virgin, finds out she is going to conceive God’s Son, the Savior of the world. I think this is one of those stories that we get used to hearing so we sometimes forget the magnitude of it. But sitting there, pregnant, with my son I couldn’t help but feel a little bond with Mary. You see our first little boy was a surprise we didn’t see coming too. We were fresh out of college and newly married and babies were not even close to being on our radar. We were young and in love and felt like babies ourselves.

Mary & The Angel Gabriel.

We weren’t ready. Why on earth would God think we were ready for something like this? Please know I’m not comparing myself to Mary in any way. I have no idea how she felt or what she experienced when that angel came and basically told her

You’re pregnant with God’s baby and still a virgin. Don’t worry God’s got this under control. Peace out.

What the what?

I’m sure Mary didn’t feel ready. I’m sure she had all kinds of questions. I’m sure she wondered how could she possibly explain all this to Joseph. I mean, can you even imagine? “Um, honey, so an angel came and told me that I’m pregnant with God’s Son. Surprise! Yeah, I know, I thought it seemed a little far-fetched too but I promise it’s the truth. No, I didn’t get the angel’s number. No, I’m not sure when. Well, I guess you’re going to have to take that up with God.”

What I love about Mary is her response to the angel.

And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.' Luke 1:38

She had just received the most unbelievable news of her life and this is her response. Her response is submission to the Lord. Her response has nothing to do with how she feels and everything to do with her desire to serve the Lord. I have a sneaking suspicion this is why God chose her to be the mother of Jesus.

It's Not About Me.

In my own life, I don’t think I’ve ever responded like Mary. I’m pretty sure my first responses to circumstances are, “So, how is this going to effect me? How am I going to do this? What’s in it for me?” My first response is always focused on me. Later I might get to the serving the Lord part but mainly I want to know how my life will be affected first. This was certainly the case when I found out I was pregnant the first time. All I could think about was how all our plans were going to be changed now. I always thought we’d work for a few years and save some money before we started a family. When I found out I was pregnant, I think my husband and I had been working at our new jobs approximately 6 weeks. We were broke. How were we going to be able to provide for a baby? Do not fear? Yeah right. I thought that was the only possible feeling I could have. We were scared out of our minds. We had been married about a minute and now we were going to be parents.

My Place In this World

Sweet Mary. How did she overcome her fear and doubt and submit to the Lord’s will so quickly? I think it’s because she knew her place in the world. She called herself “the servant of the Lord”. I’ve also heard other versions where she calls herself a “bondservant”. See, Mary knew something I often forget. Her life was not her own. She was a slave to the Most High God. She recognized this was her calling. I forget that it’s mine too. I want to control my life because I’m under the mistaken impression that it’s mine. I want to be in charge. I want to do what I want to do. Thank goodness God uses our circumstances to change our perspective. I don’t know that there has been anything in my life that’s pointed me to the Lord more than having kids. Hallelujah for that. He knew I needed them even if it wasn’t in my timing or on my terms. I think God takes great pleasure in reminding me that He’s God and I’m not. And He takes even greater pleasure in turning something I think is a mess into something completely beautiful.

Mary wasn’t perfect. I’m sure she screwed it up a time or two in her life. (Remember when she and Joseph left Jesus at the temple? Whoops.) But on that day, when the angel came, she got it right. Her relationship with God was at the forefront of her mind and she didn’t waiver. She was brave. I’m so thankful that God used those ordinary screwed up people in the Bible to carry out His will. He shows us that we don’t have to be ready, we just have to be available. We can do brave things even if we’re scared. And that gives hope to a scaredy-cat like me.

Merry Saturday, friends!! Go be brave!


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