Our family watched the Nativity Story movie last night. It’s such a telling picture of what Mary and Joseph’s life may have been like before the birth of Jesus. There were so many struggles they must have endured and many that I’ve never thought about as I read the story. The ending of course, was our favorite, as baby Jesus was born in the stillness of that night in Bethlehem. Our girls kept saying, “oh, baby Jesus is just soooo cute!” What a great way to turn my focus on the real reason we celebrate this “busy” season of Christmas.
Probably the most “heart-checking” part to me however, is Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel after he comes to tell her that she will bear God’s Son. Imagine being a young teenage girl in a society filled with stoning for sins! Luke outlines the story in great detail for us and shares Mary’s response in a moment when I’m pretty sure I may have wanted to just sit down and cry…or run away: “I am the Lord’s servant. I am willing to accept everything you’ve said. May it be to me as you have said.”
Really, Mary??! No wonder God chose you.
I’m kidding, but only a little. I love her response. And it’s this response of complete surrender that has encouraged women for thousands of years. I hope you’ll be encouraged by her today.
We aren’t being asked to do something this extraordinary, but whatever your situation, it may feel all-encompassing to you. Christmas is a busy time of year, often overwhelming. It’s easy to allow our focus to turn to the next trip to the store or how there isn’t enough money to get all the things you had hoped to get. What about when you lose your job before the holidays or your kids are ruining the fun with their ungrateful attitudes? Are you focused on that trip to your in-laws that is going to be so difficult or how you wish you could (fill in the blank) but aren’t going to be able to this year?
Disappointments are real and they seem magnified at this time of year, when you’re apparently supposed to be “Merry and Bright”. But what if we looked at Mary’s response and chose total surrender to what God has in store for us this Christmas season?
The car died again…May it be to me as you have said.
Is there enough money to buy presents?….. May it be to me as you have said.
I feel lonely and wish I had someone to walk through this season with…I am the Lord’s servant. I am willing to accept everything you’ve said.
I just want a child…I am willing to accept everything…
We have to move AGAIN! ….May it be to me as you have said.
I miss my ______ so much during the holidays… May it be to me as you have said.
If you are one of God’s children, he is faithful and present and he sees you, even when life is not turning out like you had hoped. We don’t always understand why, but I know from personal experience and from Mary’s story that God is always working out his plan and will use your life for his glory. Mary chose to accept God’s plan and it meant ridicule, shame, a difficult journey, near death experiences, and also tremendous blessing! She laid out her life in surrender, as years later her Son would do for all of us in the greatest act of love we’ll ever know. “May it be to me as you have said”, must have been the most life changing words she ever spoke!
So, how will you respond today?