Mary Had to Make a Choice; Really, Doesn’t Everybody?

Mary was called by God to perform a unique mission. On the surface she did the logical thing and seemed to make the obvious choice; So why Doesn’t Everybody Do it?
The last woman mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy is the most obvious one: “and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.” (Matthew 1:16, NIV). Mary lived a remarkable life, and was certainly a remarkable young woman. With all of the legend and adulation that has grown up around her, all of the Da Vinci code supposition and mystery, she is surely the most revered woman in history. From our vantage point, there is not all that much in the Bible to go on in terms of getting to know her, but she seems to be a fairly normal, if somewhat more devout girl of her times.

Mary

She was chosen for a mission that rearranged her life in the most uncomfortable ways possible—pregnant and possibly disgraced on the cusp of her nuptials, targeted by gossips and disapproving eyes, forced to go live with her cousin in the hill country…

Not everything was easy and glorious for Mary. Even years later, the Pharisees, arguing with Jesus about his paternity, sneered, “WE are not illegitimate children!” (John 8:41), so Mary’s predicament in being pregnant outside of marriage was obviously public knowledge, and the story followed Jesus into adulthood. It may be hard to see from this side of history, on this side of the veneration and adulation of Mary, but at one time she was a simple village girl from Nazareth who was visited by a messenger who had a word from God. She was fearful and a bit skeptical (you can read about it in Matthew 1), but after weighing her options and resolving her questions, said to Gabriel: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

It strikes me that this answer probably contains pretty good clues about attitude for all of us when life throws us a curve ball. First, remember who God is and who we are. Mary calls herself “the Lord’s servant”, meaning that when she calls God, “Lord”, she means it. He is above her, and she is willing and ready to put him first, even in some crazy circumstances. I’d see this as a good attitude for us to have when life gives us unexpected difficulties.

It probably helped Mary to have an angel deliver God’s Word, but we aren’t off the hook on that one, since we have the Word at our disposal 24/7. We can whine, “God didn’t give me a message!”—but maybe it’s been available to us all along and we just haven’t read it. Has God sent you a messenger lately? Are you listening?

Second, she is obedient to God. No protest, no argument. A puzzled question about logistics, but that’s it. Mark Lowry sang and shared in our worship service yesterday, and humorously suggested that Mary might have asked Gabriel, “Do you think you might stop by my parents’ room on the way out and maybe let them know?”

But she said, “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (I love the King James, “Be it unto me according to Thy Word.”) I’d suggest that if all of us took TODAY, and prayed this little prayer–“May your Word to me be fulfilled”– (and meant it), we’d have a different outlook, and a different kind of day. And if we did it EVERY day, we’d have a different kind of life. Mary certainly did: not by magic, or even by angelic proclamation, but by obedience and faith. Those are the tools. Here is your day.

Christmas is a happy time, so full of joy and giving!
It is a time of hope, reminding us that life’s worth living!
We all enjoy the lovely sights of mistletoe and Christmas lights,
And gathering with family to eat our Christmas-time delights.
We watch our favorite Christmas movie features on TV,
And marvel at the stack of presents underneath the tree!
But tell, me as you think of Christmas (maybe with some snow!),
And shop for presents dodging Christmas traffic as you go,
Would there be a Santa, would there be some mistletoe?
What would our world be like today if Mary had just said, “No”?
If Mary said no, this world would be a totally different place,
Without our Christmas giving, and with far less hope and grace.
If she said no, our world would hold more shame and more disgrace.
Well, what if YOU said “No” to God? What difference would there be?
What grace and hope would future generations fail to see?
What priceless gifts would languish under history’s Christmas tree?
Mary changed the world by saying “Yes” to God’s request;
But what if God called all of us, and ALL of us said yes?
You know how God used Mary’s “yes”; I guess you know the rest…

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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