December 5, 2007
“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”
Luke 1:45 (NLT)
Each year our dining room table is decorated with a beautiful wooden nativity scene. With love and pride we place the figures down the center of the table. Shepherds, camels, sheep and even a duck accompany kings, a donkey and the holy family.
A few years ago we were preparing to have our Christmas dinner. I was exhausted, but satisfied that we were about to enjoy a memorable celebration. Water was in the glasses, the candles were lit and dinner was ready. But as I brought the food to the table, shrieks came from the dining room: “The table is on fire!” And it was.
I didn’t want to ruin the lovely decorated table, so I tried to put the fire out by smothering it with a napkin, only to fan the flames. My son picked up a glass of ice water and threw in on the fire, the nativity set, and the food.
Eventually, we ate our lovely Christmas dinner, but the food was cold and the Mary statue was singed. Five years later, she still smells a little like smoke.
Today’s key verse reminds me of my small, charred Mary, and the remarkable way God set her life ablaze when she was just a teenager. It had been an ordinary day. Mary had chores to do, meals to prepare and a life to live. When the sun rose that morning, she had no indication that this was a day that would change her life, and all of history.
God had an extraordinary day planned for Mary and He sent the angel Gabriel to tell her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for God has decided to bless you. You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be great and called the Son of the Most High…and His kingdom will never end.”
I wonder what Mary’s initial thoughts were when the angel told her God had decided to bless her. If an angel came to you with a message like that, what would you expect? Health, happiness, wealth, perfect relationships? Mary might have imagined some of those same blessings.
But God’s magnificent plan was to bring His Son into the world through this teenage girl. In her wildest dreams, I’m sure that this was not the blessing Mary was expecting.
Shock, confusion and fear may have been some of her initial feelings, but Mary was quick to embrace God’s plan for her. She responded to the angels news by saying, “I am the Lord’s servant, may everything you have said to me come true” (Luke 1:38).
Mary saw herself as the Lord’s servant, willing to do whatever He asked. She wasn’t as concerned about what her parents might think, or even her friends. Mary’s confidence was in her knowledge of God and His perfect love for her.
Like Mary, God has wonderful plans for each of us. His plans can be slowly revealed to us as we follow Him, or they can jump into our lives in an instant. God’s plans for Mary were shocking, inconvenient and beyond all that she could ask or imagine. His plans for you could evoke some of these same emotions.
God planted His plans in Mary’s life. Over time, His plans developed and matured. During the following months she probably got used to them. I wonder how many times she thought about the angel’s parting words, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37, NLT).
When I hold my flame-scarred Mary, I reflect on those same words that I’ve written underneath her base. Mary was willing, trusting and adventurous in her walk with God. She wanted all that He had for her and risked her reputation and future because she trusted God. I want to be more like Mary.
Dear Lord, we ask that you would help us be more like Mary in the way that she boldly received and followed Your plan. In whatever we are facing, help us to embrace the power of Your truth that “nothing is impossible with God.” In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Advent ~ Making Christmas about Christ by Lisa Robertson
Unwrapping His Presence, Renee Swope’s Christmas Message on CD
A Recipe for Christmas Joy, E-book by Marybeth Whalen
In the busyness of the Christmas season, listen to the words of your favorite Christmas carols. Let the words, the music and the memories minister to you today.
The Lord gave His promises to His people about the coming of Christ. He gave His word to Mary about the birth of Christ. Is there a verse of Scripture that God has given to you?
Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)
Isaiah 9:2, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light, on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105