Mary’s Challenge to Me

There are many startling and amazing aspects to the Christmas story (I mean the Biblical one, not the one featuring a Red Ryder BB gun). The very fact that God Himself would come to Earth in human form, let alone as a baby born in a stable, is too astounding for me to fully grasp or understand.

There’s one verse in particular in Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth that just blows my mind every time I read it. Mary has just been visited by Gabriel the angel who informed her that she was going to become pregnant by the Holy Spirit and give birth to the Savior of the world. Never mind that she was a virgin. Never mind that was engaged to be married. Never mind that, as a devout Jewish woman awaiting the arrival of the Messiah, she probably felt completely unworthy to be His mother.

If I had been Mary, I would have listed approximately 17,252 reasons why this couldn’t and shouldn’t happen to me.

{Good thing Mary is not me.}

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. (Luke 1:34-38, emphasis mine)

Although her exact age isn’t known, most historians say that Mary was most likely in her teens at this time–which makes her response even more impressive. I shudder to think of how many occasions that God has asked me to do far, far less and I’ve responded with protests and excuses rather than with willing acceptance. 

Mary’s reply challenges me to be open and available to whatever God has in store for me and to not try to excuse my way out of the sometimes difficult assignments He gives. I suspect that her response came from a mentality that she had at all times, not a sudden willingness to be obedient to God. I also suspect that that acceptance of God’s will for her life did not come without a great deal of angst from time to time. Just because we may have a deep desire to do God’s will that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be easy to follow through, right? 

When I get to Heaven I look forward to sitting down for a nice long chat with Mary to talk about all that she dealt with in being obedient to God. I have a feeling that when she had her encounter with Gabriel she had no idea the impact she would have on the world, including me. 

2 thoughts on “Mary’s Challenge to Me

  1. I have heard, too, that Mary could have been stoned to death if found to be pregnant by another other than her husband. So that adds a whole different perspective to the story as well. I have the same feelings when I read this passage… she is a woman for us to mirror our spirit after, one of humility but not of fear, the true meaning of “gentleness” to me. Hope you had a merry Christmas! And, as always, thank you so much for your prayers and kind words!


  2. Her humility is the key. I would be thinking about what people would think…how I would look, how it was going to inconvenience the plan I had for my own life.

    I know that humility is one goal I need to set and achieve….and not be anxious to talk about…


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