Each Advent season brings me back to this post. First written in 2007, it has never stopped convicting me each Christmas. I am thankful for the willing obedience of Mary, but I am also thankful for women in my life today who choose to submit to authority, including to the Word of God, and live a life of obedience. These women have inspired me to pursue holiness and seek to glorify God.
I pray you'll be blessed this Christmas season and I pray this post (in its 2016 updated version) humbles you before our Lord. May our eyes be set upon Jesus as we prepare to celebrate His first coming to the world. And, may we be filled with tremendous excitement as we know His second advent is certain as well!
Can you imagine being chosen by God to carry baby Jesus in your womb? To raise Him? To witness His complete sacrifice? What a humbling experience this must have been for Mary. I know I didn't feel worthy or capable of being a mother, especially the first time around. The thought of Mary's privilege causes me to pause and praise God for choosing this simple method in bringing a Savior for His people into this world.
We are told that God's word is alive and active so that means we will be affected by it in different ways at different times. Many of us know the Christmas story, as told in the gospel of Luke, very well. Perhaps, though, as you consider Mary's response, you will grow in awe of God and worship Him afresh this holiday season.
When God called upon Mary to be the vessel that He would use to bring His Son forth into this world in human form, she responded in ways that are examples for us today.
She was willing to be used.
We can’t underestimate the sheer shock that Mary must’ve had when an actual angel appeared to her, let alone the message he was carrying! But, Mary was willing: ”Let it be unto me according to your word.”
Being in ministry, I have heard or read how the minority of people do the majority of the work in churches. This is probably true in many other places as well, such as school PTOs or other volunteer organizations. Ultimately, there is a level of selflessness that needs to happen in order to be used when we would rather be doing something else.
In Mary's case, though, she also clearly trusted God. When we are being asked to serve, or when we see a need (even without being asked), we must trust that God will meet all of our needs when we pour ourselves out for others. Many times I've resisted helping or giving my all because I've been afraid I would become too tired. There are many other reasons we don't want to be used for the Kingdom of God...we may fear not having enough money or time or appreciation...but, may Mary's willing example inspire us and increase our trust in God.
She was surrendered.
Mary didn’t respond to the angel with a list of better ideas or contingencies. She would have known the implications of becoming pregnant out of wedlock. She would have known that this would be a very difficult and lonely road to take. But, she submitted to God’s plan fully. Tremendous faith was the theme in Mary's response.
How do you need to surrender more to the Lord? Are you holding on to your rights? to offenses? to bitterness? to your me-time? to fears? Let them all go and experience the joy of living surrendered to the All-Sufficient One.
She was full of praise!
Mary’s magnificat (Luke 1: 46-56 resounds with awe, praise, and humble worship. This was the most amazing news Mary had ever received. Oh, to worship the Lord in this glorious way!
How can you grow in praising God? How can you fully praise without any fear of man? How can a thankful and content heart change you into a woman of praise?
We are so blessed to be used by God in His work here on earth. He certainly doesn’t need us, yet He chooses to use us. And in that process we grow closer to Him, get to know Him more and get the honor of advancing His kingdom here on earth. When we are chosen by God for a particular task, we can reflect upon Mary’s response–one that was willing, surrendered and full of praise.
I pray, regardless of the task ahead of me, that I can be more open and willing, more surrendered and more worshipful as I live out the plan God has for me in this life. I encourage you, too, in this journey as you depend upon God to do the same.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for reaching out to us. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You for the ministries in our homes, churches, workplaces, and beyond. May our senses be fine-tuned to Your voice as You lead us in Your will. We echo Mary’s words that were spoken many years ago when we say that You are mighty and have done great things for us! Holy is Your name! Your mercy is on those who fear You from generation to generation! In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.