When the angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she, a virgin, would bear the son of God, she had a choice to make.
While the gospel record doesn’t show it, I can imagine Mary standing there with her mouth open. She must have thought something like this.
“If I obey God, what will Joseph think? He has always trusted me. According to the Jewish law, I know he could have me stoned, but I haven’t done anything wrong. The Bible says I must honor my parents, but they will be disgraced if I do what this angel says. I honestly don’t know what to do.”
But in the end, her example shines because she trusted God. It shows us how Christmas can become a turning point in our lives.
Instead of applying what I call the Mary principle of obedience to God, however, we tend to romanticize this and look the other way. Just think with me for a minute. I suppose that if it were up to me, Mary’s response to the angel might have read something like this: “Sorry, Gabe, no can do. I’m engaged to Joseph.”
But in spite of the obstacles she faced, here are her words from Luke 38.
“Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” (NIV)
Mary’s words confront us with a choice as we face challenges in our own lives. But in order to really understand this, we need to discuss the issue which she brought to the table: endeavoring to apply this choice in our own lives.
First of all, when we look at Mary’s response, we might wonder what it means to be the Lord’s servant. In those days, a servant was totally dependant on his or her master. This, however, was often not a permanent arrangement, but it could become permanent. If after 6 years a permanent arrangement was desired, the slave became a bond servant–a servant who was bound to his or her master by choice. That is what the follower of Christ is called in the New Testament, as he or she has opened their hearts willingly to God’s love.
The Bible also tells us that God’s heart was so full of this love that He sent His son down to our sin-cursed world. When Jesus was born, the Word became flesh, and our savior served us in love. So, making the Christmas choice is simply a response to that love.
That everlasting love didn’t stop at the manger–it went all the way to the cross. Here, Jesus broke down the wall of sin that once existed between a holy God and sinful man.
Jesus Christ, the lord of Christmas and of our lives, invites us to know Him if we will only open our hearts to His great and eternal love. I pray that during this festive season, you will make the choice to follow and trust in Him, if you haven’t done so already.
From my wife Stephanie and myself, a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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