I remember when I was sixteen, at my church’s Christmas Eve service, my pastor had asked me to go up and read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke. I hate public speaking, but agreed to read the passage. As he prefaced it with some history, he talked about Mary’s age when the angel came to her. According to ancient Jewish tradition, a girl could be betrothed at about 12 or 13 years old. We don’t know for sure how old Mary was, but I knew that she was younger than I was at that moment when she conceived Jesus. Her story really resonated with me then, a young woman with such blatant obedience to God.
As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, Christmas hasn’t been Jesus-focused for me since then. There is so much that happens around Christmas time and the culture we live in distracts from the true reason for the season. And as Amy talked about in Part 2, giving the perfect gifts has also become a distraction. A fellow blogger Jenny over at Manna in the Madness put it perfectly.
This year, so much has changed for me about Christmas. The Lord has really been working on my heart and turning me back towards the miracle that was Jesus’ birth! And this last week, a big piece of that has been admiring Mary. Here is a little background on Mary.
Mary’s role in salvation was prophesied in Isaiah 7:14
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call Him Immanuel.”
She would conceive as a virgin and give birth to Immanuel, “God with us”. I can’t imagine being 13 years old, betrothed to a man, and then an angel appearing to me with such an important request. The most amazing thing to me about Mary is her response to the angel. First the Bible says she was afraid (Luke 1:29) and understandably so. Then she asked how this would be possible since she was a virgin (Luke 1:34). Once the angel comforts her and answers her one question, she simply says:
“I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled”.
Wow. I’m not sure my response would be so understanding, willing, or eloquent. As a Jewish woman, Mary knew about the waiting for the Messiah, the Savior. It amazes me how quickly she was to just agree and believe. Here are three things we can take away from this story.
1. God has a plan for our lives
Mary’s life was foretold in Isaiah. God had planned her, created her, and prepared her for the role she was to take on as Jesus’ mother. The same is true for us and the life God has prepared for us. Each of you were planned at the beginning of time, created with a purpose, and have been or are being prepared for God’s call on your life.
2. God is trustworthy
Mary was a regular 13 year old young woman. She was at marrying age so she was preparing to be a wife, even at 13, but she was imperfect and mortal. The thing that is special about her is her knowledge of God. She must have known God’s heart well to be able to respond so willingly. She trusted Him. She was scared, and she wanted to know how this was possible, but she simply said yes. She said yes to God’s call on her life and played an important role in history because of it.
3. God is sovereign
I often think about the way Mary must have felt to be Jesus’ mother. She gave birth to Him, raised Him, watched Him grow up, and watched Him die. She experienced the joys and pains that any mother would, but ultimately trusted in God’s sovereignty. She was a part of the first miracle Jesus performed, turning water into wine in John 2. And she was there when He was crucified, mourning His death, but never turning from God.
As daughters of the King, we are called to believe that God has a purpose and a plan for our lives and walk it out, trust God with all things, and believe in His sovereignty.
Is there something in your life you hear God calling you to do? Big or small, let’s be willingly obedient to what God is asking, as Mary was, and expectantly wait to see what God does.