Even though much of the bible is what we call Patriarchal – that is heavily written from a male perspective where many women remain unnamed – Jairus’s daughter – Jephtha’s daughter – the woman at the well – the bleeding woman who touched Jesus’ cloak – just to mention a few. But here we have Luke highlighting the example of faith shown in Mary. Mary’s response to the angel Gabriel’s message of her giving birth to God’s Son – “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” Compare this to her relative Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah’s response to the birth of John the Baptist – Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? As a result Zechariah is punished by not being able to speak until the birth of his son.
But what an example of faith Mary showed – Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.
Just consider what Mary was about to face – rejection by her family and Joseph’s family. Rejection by the community and perhaps being stoned to death like the woman caught in adultery. Arrested and crucified for blasphemy claiming to be giving birth to the Son of God – just as Jesus was crucified for blasphemy for claiming to BE the Son of God. But Mary doesn’t go into defence mode but trusts God that if this is the way that he was going to restore Israel and the world that she would trust: Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.
This is not a gender matter but an indication that God chooses people whom he knows can do the task he has called them to do. Even though they might not think in any way they have the qualifications or surely there are people better suited – God knows exactly who it is that will do the work he has called them to do. So many in the bible didn’t think they were up to the task but God knew better. Moses pleaded with God – choose someone else – I can’t speak properly – God knew better.
Or there was Jonah – sent by God to preach to Nineveh. Jonah didn’t want to go so hopped onto a ship going the other direction – God knew better. Or Esther – asked by Mordecai to rescue the Jews from genocide. She was too frightened to confront the king but Mordecai reminded her that this is God’s doing and if she didn’t do it he would still get it done and that she had arisen “for such a time as this” – God didn’t choose someone else – God knew better. Or the prophet Jeremiah who said: “Alas, Sovereign Lord, I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” But God knew better: “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. And when it came to Mary – a young, unmarried commoner – God knew better.
And what about you? Does God know better? Has God maybe spoken to you but you’ve dismissed it? Maybe you’ve questioned some aspect of your Christian calling – or even your everyday life wondering what could God possible want with me or even do with me. Maybe you’ve questioned your age like Jeremiah – I’m too young – I’m too old. Maybe you’ve questioned your ability like Moses or Esther – send someone else. Or maybe you’ve fled the scene and avoided God’s call like Jonah. But you see, God knows better. As he told Jeremiah – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;
This is the central messages of Christmas and the candle of love. God LOVED the world so much that he sent his one and only son so we would not perish but receive eternal life. God has a special place in his heart and in his plan for you.
And there is never a point in your life where God has finished with you. That’s why Jesus last words before his ascension were “I am with you always – till the end of the age”. That’s why at the announcement of Mary’s pregnancy the angel said – he would be called Immanuel – which means God is with us. God’s love is eternal for you – God’s love is unconditional for you.
We might rule ourselves out at times but the angel told Mary – For nothing will be impossible with God.” So don’t ever rule yourself out – don’t ever put yourself down – don’t ever rule out the plans God has for you. God knows better – he created you and you are so special to God – so loved by God – that he gave up his one and only Son JUST FOR YOU. That is the true Christmas miracle.