“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation, to all who fear him.” – Luke 1 46-50.
The account of the birth of Jesus in Luke 1 is read in homes and churches across the country. It is truly a miraculous story in so many ways. You have to be amazed at Mary’s faith. What must have gone through her mind when Gabriel approached her? How did she process the news that she and Joseph were to raise the Son of God? How different would their lives be? There are many lessons we can learn from Mary during this Christmas time.
For one, it’s normal to be a little afraid at first. When Mary was greeted by the angel Gabriel she was struck with fear, “Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!”(Luke 1:29-30). There are many of us who can relate to having fear or reservations when we feel God asking us to do something or feel Him at work in our lives. Mary teaches us that we shouldn’t let fear paralyze us from accepting our calling.
Another thing we can learn from Mary is saying yes even without having all the answers. Mary didn’t let her fear or concern get the better of her. This was a defining moment. God created us to have absolute free will and He wouldn’t force us to say yes. So when He asks us to take a step, it’s totally up to us to accept or refuse. Of course, He hopes that like Mary, our response would be yes. And maybe just like Mary, our yes could significantly change the world or someone’s world.
The third thing we can learn from Mary is to be available. The wonderful part of the story is Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement. “I am the Lord’s servant,..May everything you said come true.” (Luke 1:38) That’s it. No other questions, comments, apprehensions, or concerns. Mary consents. Nothing complicated. No need to fully understand, or see the whole program, or get a handle on it. Just a simple, total trust in God on her part. It is not your ability that matters to God, it is your availability. Sometimes when opportunities present themselves to us we can feel inadequate and question our suitability for the task but Mary’s example teaches us that if we make ourselves available to God He will use us regardless of how equipped we feel ourselves to be.
God doesn’t need our help, but He wants our lives to matter. Many people go through life feeling discouraged about themselves and thinking they don’t have a purpose in life. But that’s not true. Whoever you are—whatever your life experiences, talents, physical ability, or role—you have a purpose. You just have to accept it as Mary did.
- What do you think you could learn from Mary?
- What can you do this week to increase your faith?