Thursday, December 13, 2012

Our Daily Bread Designs Bible Verse Thursday Challenge #59 - Mary Did You Know?

"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus!"  ~Luke 1:31

 Whenever I read the Christmas story, while I am certainly overjoyed at what God did for us in sending His only Son, I often wonder about Mary and how she must have felt through all of it.  How she had the strength and the deep faith and trust to say "Here I  Am."

When the angel came to Mary, the Scripture tells us that she went through a variety of emotions. The first word used to describe her feelings means to be startled or greatly agitated. Mary was upset by the angel, there is no way around that. This was not what she expected. It may not even have been what she wanted. The Scripture is very clear that she is UPSET by the angel telling her that God is with her. It is not so much the physical appearance of the angel that frightens her, it is what he is about to say. Mary seems to instinctively know that her life is going to change forever. And she is not sure what she wants.

Mary does not ask the angel who he is. It makes me wonder, had she seem him before? She does not seem frightened by his appearance (most people are blinded, frightened by angels). Rather she is troubled because she knows that something tremendous will be asked of her.

We always depict Mary as this placid Virgin, always calm and pretty. She is never disheveled, never nervous or unsure. Just passive and peaceful all the time. But that is not how it reads in the Bible. In fact, it is strange to me how almost all of the translations play down her emotions, her responses. In the original language, Mary is not so passive.

I would like to suggest that our responses to God when God enters our lives, enters our hearts, are very similar to the responses of Mary. And, like Mary, when God comes to us, we don’t just feel one thing. We feel many emotions at once. But, most commonly, the first thing we feel is fear.

The second thing that Mary feels is confusion. When the angel explains that she is going to have a baby, she is confused. She cannot conceive of how this is possible, given that she is a virgin. This seems so far beyond anything that she can even contemplate. She is honest with her confusion and is not afraid to ask the angel how this will all work. I love her for that. She does not try to impress or pretend that she understands. She does not nod stupidly or turn glassy-eyed. She stops the angel and makes him explain.

“How can this work?” she asks. “How can this happen if I am a virgin?”

We often ask the same question of God. You mean that you want me to do what? How will that work? What do you mean?

The idea of having God’s child was definitely NOT in Mary’s life’s plan. She wanted to be a mother, yes, probably, since that was the highest goal of every woman in Jesus’ day. But I’m sure that she had never conceived of this.

When the angel explains that God will simply overshadow her, she accepts this without further explanation. And then she says that greatest words of all.

Here I am.

Throughout the Old Testament, these are the words of the most faithful people. Abraham spoke these words when God told him to leave his country and go to another land. Jacob spoke these words. Joseph, Moses, Samuel, Saul and even David spoke these words. The prophet Isaiah said these words to God, Here I am, Lord, send me.

The most faithful of God’s people in the Old Testament said these very words. They are the words of the soul who is ready to let God’s will be done. They are the words of all of us who realize that God’s plan may be better, larger, more comprehensive and more beautiful than anything we could possibly imagine. These are the words that we all strive to say to God. Here I am.

And so the soul moves from fear to confusion to eventual trust, just as Mary did.
It is scary to think of God being in charge of your life, scary to think of what might happen if we were to let go of our ambitions and expectations and allow God to enter us and act through us. It makes me scared just to think of it. But Christ is born when we step out of the way and allow God to do something radical and new with our lives. This kind of discipleship is very rare for we must listen deeply in order to hear God’s will for our lives. And many of us don’t have the patience to listen.

We are just a few short days away from Christmas. Each day, let’s say these words to God

Here I am Lord, let me be with me according to your word.


Your challenge this week is to create a project that reminds us that God is with us if we just step out of the way and let Him act in our lives.  When uploading your project, please use keyword ODBDBVT59 and then hop over to Our Daily Bread Designs Forum and share it with us!


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