Mary had grown up in the same village as Joseph, a carpenter’s son, who was several years older than she.
Perhaps they had admired one another from a distance ... perhaps Joseph had just been waiting for his darling Mary to grow up into young womanhood! When Mary was just 13 or 14 years old, it was settled between the two families: Mary was to become the wife of Joseph.
Engagement, or betrothal, at this moment in history held the commitment that marriage does today. Although Mary and Joseph were not living together and would stay pure until their wedding night, the only way out of a betrothal was divorce and the only reason that justified a divorce was adultery.
The engaged Mary was in her girlhood home one afternoon, maybe working on her wedding attire, or sewing towels for her new home when she sensed someone in the room with her. Perhaps Mary looked frantically around to see if anyone had joined her.
“And coming in, Gabriel said to her, “Greetings, favored one!” The Lord is with you.” – Luke 1:28
Christmas, for Mary, brought the challenge of understanding what the favor of God means in a person’s life.
Mary was about to learn that being highly favored does not guarantee a life of unbroken happiness nor does it promise that all of one’s dreams will come true. There is actually a tremendous price to be paid by those who are highly favored by the Father.
Favor means that God is willing to use an ordinary person for His greater plan.
Mary was about to be confronted with the reality that favor happens when God places a piece of Himself into an earthly life.
No longer was the God of the universe a mere concept or a Divine Being Who never engaged himself in the affairs of every day life.
The presence of God Himself had invaded the life of this young girl.
I can nearly hear Mary’s racing heartbeat as she attempted to process all that was happening around her this day.
The Bible says, “Mary was perplexed and wondered what kind of salutation this was”. Mary’s cheeks were most likely flushed and her heart was beating wildly.
“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.” – Luke 1:30
Sweet Mary, who was trying to wrap her heart and mind around the message of the angel may have been incredulously pondering, “Me?! God chose me?! I am the chosen one to carry God’s child? I am to be the mother of the Messiah?”
Christmas, for Mary, ushered in the understanding that God’s ways are much higher than human ways.
Mary was learning, like all of us must, that when Divinity invades humanity ... Divinity always wins!
Christmas is a reminder to me ... and to you ... and to Mary ... that his ways are always higher and better than anything that we could ever think of or imagine!
Christmas is not about the holiday spirit that rushes toward us the day after Thanksgiving and compels us to shop, spend, and eat. Christmas is about the Holy Spirit bringing peace and joy through a Baby Boy to the mess that we have made of planet earth.
Christmas commences the moment when a person submits to the deep longing that has always existed to be overshadowed by all that He is and all that He does!
It happened for Mary ... and it can happen for you! Perhaps an appropriate prayer to pray this Christmas would be,
“Holy Spirit! Overshadow me! Overshadow my dreams, my preferences and opinions! Birth something new and something grand in me! Create something in me that will change this generation for the Kingdom of Christ!”
Christmas, for Mary, was learning the ultimate truth of this one statement: “Nothing will be impossible with God!”
When Christmas rolls around each year, we must embrace the absolute faith that nothing is impossible with God!
You honor God when you ask of him the impossible.
Impossibility is God’s specialty! It is what He does best! You serve a God Who loves to show himself miraculous in the face of profound disappointment and darkness.
Mary, the very young, but specifically chosen mother of Jesus, utters one of the most courageous statements in all of Scripture in her conversation with Gabriel. In response to the announcement of the angel that Mary’s world had just been interrupted with heaven’s plan, Mary clearly and humbly declared, “Behold the bondslave of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.” — (Luke 1:38)
A “bondslave” was a slave who was able to go free but instead chose to stay and serve his or her master. Mary willingly chose to offer temporary housing to the Savior of the world because that was God’s desire.
When her world collided with God’s ultimate desire, Mary died to self and submitted to God the Father.
Has God asked something difficult of you? How have you responded? Have you said, like Mary did, “Behold the bondslave of the Lord, may it be done to me according to Your word.” ?
When God requires one of his children to lay down his or her way for His best plan, often there is a struggle of the human will. Unfortunately, rather than respond with the maturity and wisdom of the young Mary, many of us whine and complain.
Some of us even have the audacity to question whether or not God even knows what he is doing!
God is looking for bondslaves: He is on an eternal and relentless search for men and women who are willing to serve Him simply out of love.
God desires men and women who will allow him to interrupt their perfectly planned lives with His unbelievable and miraculous plans! Are you willing to be a bondslave of the Father?
Mary’s pure heart and true resolve are revealed through the final words of her statement, “ ... May it be done to me according to Your Word.”
Is that the resolve of your heart as well?
“May it be done to me according to Your Word.”
When your will comes into conflict with God’s Word, my friend, it is God’s Word that must win at all costs.
This Christmas, I declare, with Mary, that His Word will have the highest authority because I have chosen to be His bondslave.
There is absolutely nothing I would rather be than the bondslave of the Lord.
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!
This blog was taken from Carol's new devotional, "Let There Be Joy!" You can order this devotional at Amazon.com or at justjoyministries.com.