The angel responded to Mary: The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Gabriel went on to explain: Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:35-37).
Maybe it was the news that her cousin Elizabeth, thought to be barren, was already pregnant, but whatever it was, in the next verse Mary says yes. She believes. “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said,” she tells the angel.
How remarkable! Mary first of all recognizes that her task in life is to be God’s servant. Whatever God wants, she will do it! Secondly, she says, “May it be to me as you have said.” I always like the older English of the King James translation: “Be it unto me according to thy word.”
“Bring it on!” “I surrender to God’s Plan!” “Though I might be afraid, I will ride the wave of God’s will as far as it takes me.” These might be more contemporary ways of putting what was in Mary’s heart.
So Mary doesn’t turn her back on Gabriel’s message. Instead she submits to God’s word (brought to her by the angel) and to God’s Spirit.
What about us?
Christmas presents us with no less a choice than Mary. (Interestingly, the English transliteration of her name in Arabic is Miriam and in Hebrew it is Miryam.) You see Jesus is wanting to be born into our lives and into our world, just as truly as he was born into the womb of the Virgin Mary (Miriam/Miryam.) In Revelation 3:20 he says: Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Paul actually talks about Jesus being born in us. In Galatians 4:19 he writes: My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.
When she is told that God’s plan Mary says, I submit to God’s Word and to God’s Spirit.
In this Christmas season God is asking you and me a question too. Will we open our lives to His Son? Will we prepare room for him in our lives and hearts, or will we, like the innkeeper, find no room for him to be born? How will we answer?
Mary said yes. Will we?
WINFIELD “CASEY” JONES is pastor of First Church of Pearland in Pearland, Texas, and can be reached at [email protected].