Of the many people in history I’d like to meet, one of them would no doubt be an unassuming teenage girl named Mary. Raised on the wrong side of the tracks where the average person lived to around the age of forty, Mary was born into an impoverished family in an obscure village, living under an abusive foreign rule. Though countless pieces of art depict her as this angelic, serene, uncomplicated young woman without a care in the world, all of that is just fiction. Her life was hard… and as a young lady, she was expected to honor her parents, work hard, and blend in.
But, out of nowhere, on a day just like any other day, an angel comes to her and says, “Mary, you are favored among women.” Of course, we read those words in Luke 1:26 having heard them so many times before. And because of that, we can so easily loose the sense of how utterly unprepared Mary was for what was happening. She’s never been singled out like this. And so, it’s no surprise that, in verse 29, we’re told that she was both confused and disturbed by everything that was happening.
And yet, while the words the angel shared must have shaken her, what he was about to say would change her life: “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.” Now, forget about all the hand-painted smiles in all the nativity scenes you’ve seen this Christmas season and imagine this happening in real life to a real person. Whatever she understood or didn’t understand in those moments, one thing was for sure… that she knew the live she had just moments ago was gone.
Still unsure what it all meant, Mary offers this amazing response to the angel, in verse 38: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have spoken.” These aren’t words of passive resignation over circumstances she can’t control. This is a heroic offering of herself… a sacrifice of her agenda… a laying down of her dreams, her life, her reputation. She knew that whatever peace she would know in her life from this time on wouldn’t come because her life was “calm and bright,” because it would be neither of those things. Instead, Mary’s peace would come to her as a result of a heart that would cry out to God, over and over again through her life, “I am the Lord’s servant. Mary it be to me as you have spoken.”
In every way, Mary reflects the kind of humble, servant heart I aspire to… but so often fall short of. Her love of God and her willingness to trust Him made her fierce. She reminds me of the kind of person God can really use to make a difference in this world. Perhaps you wonder what God can really do through someone like you. The question is… are you willing to offer yourself? Are you willing to sacrifice your agenda and lay down your dreams for His? Are you willing to make Mary’s prayer your life prayer… “I am the Lord’s servant. Mary it be to me as you have spoken.”