This holy season we are examining the characters of Christmas. Last week we looked at Elizabeth. (Click here to read her story.) This week we will look at Mary.
Mary’s story is so familiar to us. Every Advent season we hear the story of the angel visiting the young girl. We see the picture of Gabriel giving the news to Mary on dozens of Christmas cards every year. The artist usually pictures Mary sitting very serene, looking at the angel. And so it’s easy to assume that it was easy for Mary to accept this special role. That it was effortless for her to say yes to God’s plan for her. After all, she was given the most important task any woman would ever have. She would be honored for all time. Who wouldn’t want that?
But we know the whole story. We have the advantage of looking back at history and seeing how God worked everything out. We know the story has a happy ending. Mary didn’t have that perspective.
Young Mary was betrothed to Joseph–which is a little like our engagement process. But in the eyes of the law, a betrothed woman was legally bound to the man–even if the marriage ceremony hadn’t taken place. And so, if a betrothed woman was found pregnant by another man, she was accused of adultery. And the punishment for adultery was stoning by death.
And even if she was not put to death physically, Mary realized that life as she knew it was going to die. Friends would probably not believe her story of an angelic visit. Not to mention her fiance!
So if I had been in Mary’s shoes I probably would have reacted to the Gabriel’s message with something like, “Sure, I’ll go along with God’s plan if you will just go out into the streets and tell everyone that I, Mary of Nazareth, have been chosen to be the mother of the Savior.”
But what did Mary say?
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38)
Mary was selected for the most special role any woman could have. But think about it—very few people during her lifetime would truly understood her unique calling. Most people would have seen her either as a tramp, someone who violated God’s laws, or as a crazy person, someone claiming to have a virgin birth.
And that’s why it’s so amazing that she responded to Gabriel with the words, “Let it be to me according to your word.” Mary’s humility enabled her to say yes to God.
Unlike Mary, I struggle with acceptance. I struggle with acceptance because I subconsciously put myself on a level with God. I don’t see how my life fits into God’s big plan and, truth be told, my mighty self sits on the throne of my heart more often than Christ does.
Maybe you struggle with acceptance too. Perhaps life is not going as you had planned. And there is no relief in sight.
That’s why we need to remember Mary. She accepted her God-given role. And even though we now see her as special, to most people in her day she probably appeared very ordinary. Mary was able to say yes to God because she understood her small life was a piece of God’s big plan.
You may feel like you are nothing special. But the Bible tells us that each of us has been selected for a unique calling (Ephesians 4:10). Only one woman is mother to your children. Only one woman is the wife of your husband. Only one woman can minister to the needs of your church with your specific God-given gifts. Only one woman can reach into your world with your particular skill set.
When you feel ordinary remember that is not how God sees you. God sees you as special. God sees you as unique. God sees you as a one-of-a-kind person with a one-of-a-kind life. All those tears you wipe away, all those dishes you wash, all those memos you type–all add up to one incredible life when you see them through God’s eyes.God sees you as unique. God sees you as a one-of-a-kind person with a one-of-a-kind life. Click To Tweet
Sometimes it’s hard to accept the life you have right now.
But maybe it’s a little easier when you remember that all the little things you do matter in God’s big plan.
God’s plan is more immense than we can imagine, but every little piece of the intricate design matters. You matter.
Next step: Read Mary’s story in Luke 1 (click here to read it online). Imagine yourself as Mary receiving the news from Gabriel. How would you have wanted to respond? Then write out Mary’s response, ““Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” and post it where you can see it often. Repeat this words back to the loving Savior.