Her future was decided. She was a young woman pledged to be married and preparing for the engagement time to be complete so she could begin her own family. Then her world was turned upside down with a few simple words. What do you think was the first thought in Mary’s mind when she heard the word “Greetings!” and saw the angel?
Mary must have been some kind of faithful for God to choose her and for an angel to call her “highly favored.” God didn’t close his eyes and eeny, meeny, miny, moe the selection of the woman to bear his son. He had been watching, and Mary had proven her faithfulness.
Mary, who had served God, believed in him deeply, and followed his commands, was surprised by the angel. But she didn’t respond as some of us would. “Well, God, it’s about time you noticed me down here. I’ve been working so hard on following you that I’ve been wondering when you’d show up to bless me.” No, Mary was humble from the very beginning.
After the startling news, she didn’t deny, argue, or decline but simply responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” Wow! If God surprised me during the night with such a revelation, would I follow so blindly? I’d probably ask a million questions and want to know the end game before I committed.
This announcement not only required her to follow in obedience, but doing so would ruin her reputation. Her betrothal might end because Joseph no longer wanted her. If so, she would probably remain unmarried for life. Not easy to be a single mom in biblical days. Would her story seem to be “crazy” and unbelievable? So many reasons to be anxious, overwhelmed, scared, and a million other feelings.
Mary had no inklings of what was to come nor the difficulty of the journey. She only knew God had chosen her to be the mother of his son. But what did that really mean? It was exciting but also daunting. She only understood that God was asking her to serve him, and she obeyed. She didn’t demand promises or assurances but trusted in Almighty God. She is the perfect example of submission.
What speaks to me most about Mary is that she didn’t wait until God called her to begin being faithful. He called her because she was faithful with a strong belief and trust. She challenges me to surrender. It begins now to follow blindly and trust God with my future that seems uncertain at times. In Luke 1, where we find this account, the angel’s visit concludes with him saying, “For nothing is impossible with God.”
As this Christmas holiday approaches and you hear a dozen references to Mary, think about her response. Consider her journey the years before the angelic visitor changed her life. Join her in being one of the great women of faith even if your holiday isn’t what you expect. God is always faithful. He has a plan if we believe, trust, and surrender.