Each year, at Christmastime,
as I pull the bubbled-wrapped nativity pieces of ceramic from their box,
I not only marvel at the simplicity of the story of grace,
but I am in awe of Mary's great faith and trust in God's plan of redemption.
When Gabriel came to visit a terrified Mary to announce the arrival of
the long-awaited, prophesied Messiah, she was shaken and worried about what he was there for.
What had she done (or NOT done) to prompt a visit from a messenger of God?
She knew the scriptures, the prophecies containing the promise of a Messiah.
She knew the one in Micah, (Chapter 2 verse 2-4):
"But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means the least
among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel".
She had been planning her wedding,
imagining her dress, and the flowers she'd style in her hair,
not planning a nursery or sewing a layette.
She was deciding who would cater the reception,
not worrying about eating for two.
She daydreamed about her groom, Joseph,
and how handsome he'd look as he watched her face through her veil,
not praying he'd divorce her quietly.
So, was she surprised when the angel told her that the Savior would come through her?
Was Mary flabbergasted that it would happen even though she had never slept with a man?
Was she astonished to hear the words, "I am the Lord's servant. Let it be with me just as you say"
pass from between her lips?
Did this now mean that all HER plans were altered, delayed, or worse, ruined?
After Gabriel left, Mary might have wondered if the exchange had really happened.
I might have.
After Gabriel disappeared, Mary might have wondered what this meant for her future.
I would have.
After the angel delivered His message of hope, Mary might have wondered
if any one would believe her when she told them what had happened.
I definitely would have.
You gladly let go of your hopes for the birth of the Hope of Nations.
You quietly released your plans of joy for God's joyous plan.
You sacrificed your reputation and peace for the Prince of Peace.
When it finally sunk in, and you realized the significance of the choice you made,
and chose to glorify God in your soul and rejoice in your spirit over being the one chosen,
You knew that what God did for you would never be forgotten.
That all generations would call you blessed.
That your heart of worship and consent would inspire others forever.
Through your gift of love, young wise woman, Love has come.
And I thank you.
Year after year, I thank you.
Last year, I wondered:
Mary, did you know (Bethlehem didn't have a Hobby Lobby)?