“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” 34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[b] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.” 38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” Luke 1.26-38
“I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
How many of us would respond so perfectly if we had just been visited by the angel Gabriel and he told us that everything we thought we would be doing for the next, I don’t know — LIFETIME, had changed?! How many of us would not be afraid and could actually make a coherent sentence before this celestial being?
Let’s give Mary more credit then we typically do. The Catholics have a veneration of this servant which is not far from the truth. She was not perfect, she did sin, and she is not God — but she handled being told that her virginity was about to come to an end by the Holy Spirit and that she would soon give birth to the Savior of the World exceptionally well. How would this shift your thinking?
Mary asked one reasonable question — “How can this be since I am a virgin?” She didn’t panic, she didn’t go into hysterics, she managed her fears and maintained her faith so much so that she responds with these perfect words — “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” (V.38)
If you have an invitation, Day One of “Ten Days of Christmas” then you must have an acceptance or a denial. When you received a card in the mail as a child for a birthday party, you either accepted (most likely) or rejected (less likely) the invitation. The invitation has been given with many moving parts including Zechariah and Elizabeth, and now Mary and soon Joseph. The invitation from God is this — “Will you fulfill my plans for you?” We don’t have to come up with the plans. God never asks us to do that. He doesn’t expect us to be the “mastermind of the Universe.” That’s his job. Our job is to accept his plans and then try to fulfill those to the best of our ability.
Mary accepted the plans of God beautifully. She said “yes” to the invitation even though it would not be an easy task. She was suppose to remain a virgin until her wedding and how do you convince someone that God got your pregnant? Yeah, right! And then to raise the Son of God? It couldn’t be easy.
But God gives to the assignment and the strength to complete the task.
What task is God giving us today? In general and as followers of Christ, our task is to love God, follow him, serve him and make disciples. But specifically, this will look different for each of us. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus, walk in step with him, and strive to be holy as he indeed is holy.