”The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 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, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 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 the Son of God. 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. For no word from God will ever fail.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.” Luke 1:28-38
There is no use in fighting Christmas. As I have mentioned before, the season rolls upon us like the tide. Ever pressing onward and impossible to stop. Even the humorous movie, “Christmas With the Kranks,” and their attempt to stop from celebrating Christmas did not come to pass. Too many factors were in play for them to stop this wonderful holiday from happening.
As I read the story of Mary, I think of the famous Beatles song, “Let it Be.” A great song with simple lyrics but a profound message. It reminds me of what Mary says here in v.38 when she surrenders to the Lord saying, “May your word to me be fulfilled.” She could have just quoted John Lennon and said, “Let it Be.”
The angel approaches Mary and he has a mission to accomplish. It’s his job to tell her the good news. Shes going to have a baby, even though she’s a virgin, and the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will conceive. The child she is giving birth to is the Son of God. God in the flesh, the Messiah, Savior of the World. No big deal! Except that it is a huge deal.
The angel is delivering the news in a casual conversation saying, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Then he tells her to not be afraid, God’s found favor with her and is birthing a son through her. Mary asks a few natural questions – “How can this be since I have never been with a man,” to which the angel explains more thoroughly. And in the end, Mary says the words each of us should repeat often in our lives, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Mary is a wonderful example of a willing servant. How many times does God want to involve us in his plan to reach and love the world yet we turn the other way? Maybe we fear for our safety (think homeless ministry or oversees trips to Africa), or perhaps its just not convenient or comfortable to serve (think about leading a VBS in a government housing project.) Or it might be sacrificing some of the money you might spend on yourself to tithe to your church or a nonprofit in need of support. Sometimes we are physically sent on mission and other times God calls us to use our resources to send others.
Regardless, our response to God’s call should always be “Let it be.” Or like the young servant Samuel said who was ministering in the house of the Lord with Eli, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
God is on the move always and every day. He wants to use us in powerful and significant ways. Will you be like Mary who said, “Let it be,” or will you ignore God’s call and go your own way?
Let’s remember God’s call upon our lives this Christmas season. As the holidays ramp up, let’s celebrate with joy, giving our hearts to God and our time as well.
”O Lord God, you are good. I thank you for loving me and for allowing me to be your hands and feet. Come now, Holy Spirit. Fill me with your power. Help me say “yes” to you when you call. Even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. Help me die to myself so that I might live for you. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen