advent lettering

O Come All Ye Faithful


Today's Reading

Luke 1:26-56

There was nothing remarkable about Mary. I imagine that she was faithful to know the Law, and I’m sure that she kept the Law to the best of her ability. She may have been attractive, or she may have been plain. She probably had friends who giggled and laughed with her as they all pulled water from the well. She was a simple Jewish girl, typical of most girls her age. Scriptures do not indicate anything “special” about her—that is prior to the announcement.

As a young woman, she had been betrothed to a young carpenter, a good man named Joseph. You can imagine her excitement at the prospect of the upcoming marriage. You can see her laughing with her friends on her way home, suddenly going silent as she nears Joseph’s home, shyly smiling at him as she passes by, her friends prattling on about chores and life in general. Maybe she was nervous about leaving her home, or maybe she was ready to begin her own family. Regardless, the day drew near for the wedding celebration she had always wanted.

Then Gabriel appeared. “Hello, Mary! You are about to become one of the most important women in history. Are you ready?”

Of course, Mary takes a step back. Interestingly, she isn’t “gripped with fear” like her cousin’s husband, Zechariah. Maybe because she had heard of his experience, or maybe because her heart was ready for the announcement.

“Mary, God loves you and because of that, He has chosen you to give birth to His Son, Jesus, heir to the throne of David and a kingdom that will never end.”

Mary has a natural response—“How, since I am a virgin?”

This is where the story gets interesting. From the surface, she responded just as Zechariah did, “How?” But Gabriel’s response shows that there was something significantly different behind her question.

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you. Nothing is impossible with God.”

You notice that Gabriel didn’t make her mute? She wasn’t taught a lesson in this moment. Instead, she was given an explanation.

What was different? Perhaps the heart was different. We don’t know whether Zechariah had a proud heart or an unbelieving heart since Scripture never states as such, but Mary—Mary had a humble heart. Her response: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”

What an incredible statement of humble acceptance. She recognized the messenger, heard the message, and accepted the future, all in one simple reply.

Of course, we see more about Mary in the rest of the Gospels with the birth of Christ and his life as a child. We see her at the start and at the end of Jesus’ public ministry. We know that she was cared for by the disciples and honored for her faithfulness.

But in this moment, we see a humility like no other. In her song that is recorded in Luke, she says, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”

It is likely that she was referring to her humble origins because, after all, there was nothing remarkable about her, but I think that she was wrong. I believe that God looked upon Mary and saw her humble heart. He saw within her a servant who was willing to take on the task of a scandalous pregnancy, dealing with the questions and looks from others, the scrutiny of it all—and would say simply “Yes.”

When the news of Jesus appeared to Mary, she naturally responded to humility because she had a humble heart. What about your heart?

Do you have a heart willing to say yes no matter what? Do you have a heart that will listen to the call of Jesus and follow Him wherever it may lead? Are you ready to say yes?

As we look to the birth of Jesus, let’s prepare our hearts for the call of Jesus. Let’s humbly say to him, “I am the Lord’s servant, and whatever you want to do, Lord, I am ready.”

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