“The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, ‘Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is win you.’ But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. Then the angel told her:
Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdon will have no end.
Mary asked the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’
The angel replied to her:
The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the Holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.
‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ said Mary. ‘May it be done to me according to Your word.’
I know we’ve all heard this story a hundred times, but typically the focus is on Jesus.. which is ultimately the most important part. But as moms, I wanted to take a minute to think of things from Mary’s perspective. Do you remember when you found out you were pregnant? Maybe it was planned or maybe it was what we call a “surprise” …but I feel safe in saying that we probably all knew how it happened. Can you imagine what Mary must have been thinking? She was a virgin. The scriptures say that she had found favor with God so she must have been a pretty virtuous woman. And here she is, not yet married, and she’s pregnant. And her fiance knows it’s not his! Somehow she has to convince her fiance that she is pregnant with the Son of God.
Put yourself in her shoes. How well would that have gone over for you? I know that when I was engaged, if I became pregnant and I went to my fiance and said “You gotta trust me, I’m still a virgin, this is the Son of God in my womb!” Y’all, my husband loves the Lord and his faith is strong, but I know he would have looked at me like I had lost my mind! He would either be worried I had cheated on him or seriously concerned about my mental stability. In the book of Matthew, it says that an angel did end up going to Joseph and telling him to take Mary as his wife and that it truly was a miracle and she conceived because of the Holy Spirit.. but Mary didn’t know that was going to happen. We read the story and we know the ending so it seems like the obvious choice to make to say “Sure, Angel Gabriel, I would be honored to give birth to the Son of God!” But Mary didn’t know the end of the story. When the angel told her she was going to give birth to the Son of the Most High, she had no idea how all of that would unfold. She didn’t know how Joseph would respond. She didn’t know what her future held. Fornication, which she likely would be accused of, was completely forbidden in those times. It was a shame and a disgrace. But still, she said “May it be done to me according to Your word.”
One thing I’ve noticed when I read stories in the Bible is that God doesn’t always do things that fit in with what is typical or socially acceptable. He told Noah to build an ark and gather all kinds of animals before there was any rain in sight. People thought he was crazy! Joshua was told to conquer a city by walking in circles around it until the walls fell down. And a virgin was told she would conceive and give birth to the Son of the Almighty God without ever having been intimate with a man. And soon after that, all of the people were to believe that a child born to a mere carpenter was going to be the King of the entire world and He would reign forever.
We have this idea of what Christianity is supposed to look like and what we’re supposed to do and not do.. but are we really listening for the voice of the Lord in our lives? Are we opening ourselves up to be an instrument in part of His story of salvation? We can’t just go to church on Sundays and Wednesdays and think we’ve done our part, all is well now. God has a way of speaking to us, but we have to be listening. We have to be maintaining a relationship with the Lord through prayer and we have to open our hearts to hear from Him. And most importantly.. when we hear from Him, we have to be prepared to answer the call. No matter how absurd or far fetched or crazy it may sound, I pray that we could all answer with a servant’s heart just as Mary did and say “May it be done to me according to Your word.“