Mary

Photo by Jeff Brown

Now that the stable and animals are in place, The Story takes us about 90 miles northwest to Nazareth, in the northern highlands of Galilee. There, we find a teenage girl. A virgin who was visited by the angel Gabriel and told she would become pregnant with the Son of God. Mary, the one who agreed to it all.

Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Luke 1:38

I doubt Mary knew the full extent to what she was agreeing, but I’d bet she knew enough. At her age, it’s likely she’d seen enough of childbirth to know of the fear, pain, and blood. She certainly had experienced enough of human nature and gossip to predict the shame. She surely understood it would be easy for Joseph to abandon her. She had probably learned enough of God’s Story to know that entering it would be costly.

Mary said yes to much more than a baby. Like all consenting mothers, she grabbed her chance for possibility and promise, even when it came with risk, suffering, and lots of mystery.

And isn’t that how it goes with every Yes to God? God comes with His strange, shadowed plans and somehow we agree. Are we really that desperate?

We are. Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we’re all born craving God’s favor and addicted to hope. Desperate for Life.

Then God shows up and offers a trade we can’t refuse. We hand over our desperation and make a dangerous deal, sight unseen. Yes, Lord. Please.

Like Mary, we come away with a measure of faith for the journey, or at least for the next step. We return for more and it becomes a habit. Hopefully.

The problem comes when I forget my desperation. You and I were born into a culture of independence and pride. It’s never been easier to mask our symptoms, turn to distractions, or suffer alone. No thank you, Lord. I’m good here.

Gentle Mary was born into a more desperate culture. For her and for every woman in her history, motherhood was their only hope. For them, producing a baby (especially a son) was also giving birth to security and worth.

Not to mention the unspoken, inherited possibility of delivering the long-awaited Messiah…

let it be to me

Our desperation for a seed of faith. The one thing God wants, for the only thing we need.

That was Mary’s deal. And it’s the same one that transforms every fearful child into a favored, faithful one.

What are you longing for this Advent? Are you in need of a little more faith this year? Remember, we’ve got enough for a good trade.

Yes, Lord. According to your word. Yes, whatever it takes.

One faithful step at a time, Mary eventually made it from Nazareth to Bethlehem. I’m placing her miniature figure slightly stage left in my nativity, leaving room for Hope.

And Mary said,  “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. ”

Luke 1:46-48

Until next time,

Karen


P.S. Want to get caught up on this series? Click HERE.

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