In the lead up to Christmas most people are running around stressed with the aim of getting the right amount of food, balancing family dynamics and purchasing the perfect gifts. The focus is all on the lead up to one single day in December verses capturing the bigger picture of the whole season.
During this period I love taking a step back and looking at how it all begun. The simplicity of the start of the Christmas story always touches my heart. There were no carols, no trees, decorations, food or hype. And for me, the story doesn’t start in the manger, it starts with Mary - a young, obedient girl going about her daily life.
I want Mary’s encounter with Gabriel but I am not so sure I would be up for the cost of the calling. Comparison is such a sly trap and most of us often look at other people’s blessings and wish we had them.
Mary had a normal life that followed the accepted cultural trajectory of her time. At a young age she was already betrothed to marry and was living in a small obscure little town. Ordinary. Simple.
If you and I had been tasked with finding a woman to birth the son of God, we would mostly likely have missed Mary as she was so hidden and so regular. Yet, the Father saw her and chose her. He knew exactly where Mary was in her remote village, living her routine life.
Scripture doesn’t tell us that she was praying for a bigger purpose, a vision or an encounter. But when Gabriel shows up suddenly, her world is forever changed. And I particularly like how he greets her:
The Lord is with you
Gabriel not only encourages her but also affirms her of God’s presence over her life. Although Mary is both troubled and unsure of what is going on, she is a humble enough person to listen to all that he says and with a heart of innocence, accepts the mission.
My favourite part of this encounter is that Gabriel outlines the plan for her! I have to admit that I am a little envious of this interaction as I would love Gabriel to come to me with an encouragement and affirmation and give me a detailed plan of how the Father is going to work out the details of my life despite the obstacles. Wouldn’t you?
I want Mary’s encounter with Gabriel but I am not so sure I would be up for the cost of the calling. Comparison is such a sly trap and most of us often look at other people’s blessings and wish we had them. However… Are we also willing to pay the price they pay to get it? What Gabriel announced to Mary was no easy task for her to handle especially in those times and in that culture. She could have been rejected by Joseph and stoned to death. How could she explain her situation without sounding ridiculous? How would she handle the shame?
So during the lead up to this Christmas instead of stressing why don’t we all take some time to ponder our lives; the ordinary, daily events and ask Holy Spirit to come upon us with a fresh anointing and vision. Spend some time practicing gratitude for all He has brought us through this year and most importantly commit our lives afresh to Him and humbly say what Mary said in verse 38 as a prayer:
I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.