And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her (Luke 1:26-38)
It’s hard to believe that Christmas is upon us once again. And it is not the Christmas we used to because of the pandemic going on. But Christmas is the time of hope. New hope is dawning on the horizon.
Christmas is always a very special time of the year. And I don’t mean in the cosy and sentimental way. Not sentimental “peace on earth” and “presents” but because God became one of us and save us. It tells us that we are all beloved children of God. We can be imperfect and God still loves us. Because a child is born to us. That child is just a helpless as we are. But he will grow up and become powerful in word and deed. But still he went through the same phases we have to go through. Being loved by it’s parents, being cared for, he grew up and faced the world in all its greatness and sadness. That child would be loved and rejected. But a child that is Gods beloved Son. The story of the Annunciation calls to our attention God’s wondrous action in human history. God chose a simple woman, in a simple town, to give birth to his Son, so that all humanity would know God’s salvation. Mary, was able to cooperate in this great plan for our salvation. Thus Jesus was born as one of us. This is the mystery we prepare to celebrate at Christmas, the mystery of the Incarnation. In the model of Mary, we can be people of faith who recognize God’s saving plan for us and are able respond with obedience.
Today we focus on Mary. This teenage, unmarried mother, about ready to give birth to a child. Of course with Joseph at her side. The story of today brings us back to that moment of conception. She is a simple Jewish woman in Nazareth. Scholars believe Mary was just a teenager when the angel Gabriel visited her with a message from God. She was a simple girl that lived among the lower class of Israel. She was engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. She was waiting the rite of marriage, which is a kind of formal home-taking ceremony. But she was in for a surprise. She was to fulfill what God had in mind for her and the world! God had faith in this young woman and she was in His focus. God has his focus on us as well. The only question is whether we are opening our hearts to him, like Mary did. God knew what He was doing and outlined it for Mary through His angelic messenger Gabriel. The baby she was going to carry would not be merely human but also the Son of God! As Christians.
He is ready to put His action plan for your life into gear if you are ready to move forward with His plan. Are you ready for action? Mary’s statement is one of the most courageous ever recorded.” God wants disclose the plan he has for you and me but he is not going to force us to accept it. He loves us but respects our free will. We can find an example in Mary today. Gabriel appears to her and says to her, “Greetings, oh favored one, the Lord is with you”. Mary was a young woman, some say seventeen, some say as young as fourteen. Here is the angel Gabriel standing before here, to ask her, if she wants to be the mother of the Son of God. He is not saying: “think about it and I come back next week for an answer”. No! He wants her to respond on him with undoubtedly yes. What does Mary think? Is she afraid or upset maybe? She is just a simple girl, in a simple town. She is not even married yet. And her is this angel in front of her. What will the people in this small town say? We know all how small towns are like, and Mary knew it surely as well.
She steps back, thinking, reflecting. If she says yes what will this mean for her and her family. She knows it is going to be difficult. So she recounts the angel with the words: “How is it possible? I know not a man”. Was it in easy way out or just a concern for this young woman? Who knows! But the angel has the answer ready already as if he expected the question already. “Do not be afraid, for the Holy Spirit will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be called holy…the Son of God”. And then Mary speaks the famous words: “ be it done according to your word”. She could have said: “ I am honored, but now i don’t want to do it”. But luckily she did not and in that way makes incarnation possible. And in a way the same is asked from us. It is our faith and obedience that brings God to the world, even when we are scared, just like Mary (and Joseph). Because God calls each and every one of us. He says, “The Child is yours and I put him under your protection and care. I want you to bring him into and to the world. You need to reveal this child to the world. There is not much difference between the faith of Mary and Joseph and ours. Mary was a simple girl and not a super human, neither was Joseph, at that point. They had their fears and concerns but trusted in God all the way. That is the faith that we should have as well.
This is not only a story from long ago but also here and now. It happens now in 2020 when God calls us to bring his Son to the world. He send his angel to us and hopes that we say with Mary: “Be it done to me according to Your word.” Amen.