I have always been intrigued by Mary, and what she was going through before she gave birth to Jesus. I think I really started thinking about this in December of 1993. PKR and I just found out we were expecting Z2, and Amy Grant had just come out with a new Christmas album with the song Breath of Heaven as one of the selections.
The lyrics of this song share about what might have been going on in Mary's head.
It is such a great story. A young teenage girl is visited by an angel, and told this in the book of Luke:
26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,
27to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28And coming in, he said to her, "Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you."
29But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was.
30The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.
31"And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus.
32"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;
33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."
34Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I am a virgin?"
35The angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason (AT)the holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
36"And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
37"For nothing will be impossible with God."
38And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
One of my favorite parts of this whole story is Mary's reaction. I think back to being in high school, and thinking about what a stigma it would be to become pregnant. To me, it was a huge thing. One I made sure didn't happen. And I'm sure it was no different when Mary was a young girl. In fact, it was probably worse. I don't think I would have been stoned. She could have been.
So imagine being visited by an angel who tells you you are going to have God's son. But you won't have this baby by conventional means. You will have the Holy Spirit come upon you and the power of the Most High overshadow you, and then you will become pregnant.
Could Mary even comprehend what this meant? Then the angel tells her about her cousin Elizabeth, who is also going to have a baby, and the angel tells Mary,
"For nothing will be impossible with God."
And I loved Mary's reaction to this proclamation the angel just told her. She didn't freak out. She didn't say no. She didn't pout and go to her room. She said this:
"Behold, the bondslave of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word."
I remember being in a Bible study when this verse came up, and I looked up the meaning of bondslave. A bondslave is A person in a state of slavery; one whose person and liberty are subjected to the authority of a master.
Her response was, okay Lord, whatever you want. Thy will be done. I'm not going to fight it. You are God, and You know what is best.
And I often wish I could respond the same way Mary did when I come up against impossibilities in my life. That I could say to God, okay, may it be done to me according to you word.
But sometimes I do freak out. I do say no. I do go and pout in my room. I crawl in bed and watch old West Wing episodes.
And all the time Jesus is saying, "Hey, look at what my mom had to face, and how she reacted to it all. My mom was a pretty good example to follow."
Then I would say, "Yeah, Jesus, you're right."
I encourage you to ponder Jesus' earthly mother this Christmas season, and how she handled an impossiblity in her life, and see if you can have the faith she did, when you are faced with an impossiblity in your life.
A movie called The Nativity Story was released a few years ago, and it tells the story of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus. If you have a chance, rent it.
Below is the Amy Grant song Breath of Heaven, and some film clips from the movie The Nativity Story. Hopefully it will give you something to ponder, as Mary pondered, the upcoming birth of the Son of God...a miracle that would change the world.