I’m guessing you are probably pretty familiar with the whole Christmas story, including the bit where the angel Gabriel visits Mary and tells her that she has found favour with God and going to give birth to His Son, the Saviour of the world. (It’s found in Luke 1:26-38 if you want to read over it again.)
And the thing I want to focus on comes towards the end of that passage. I want to look at Mary’s attitude. And maybe before we get to that it would be an idea to look at just what was being asked of her. She was told that despite being a virgin she would give birth to a child – a scientific impossibility (at least until IVF made it theoretically possible). She was being asked to have a child out of wedlock in a time when society was highly religious, and getting pregnant out of marriage was one of the most taboo things she could have done – she could have legally been stoned for such an offence. She would have had to put up with public shame and scorn. And to top it all she was expected to have faith that her child would have a kingdom that would never end.
I’m sure that most of us, if asked to go through that would try and get out of it, or try to argue that someone else would be better suited to that than us. That someone else would have a better level of faith. Yet look at Mary’s attitude: ‘Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”’ (v38)
When asked to do something for God, she had a totally acceptant servant heart. She didn’t try and get out of it. She didn’t make excuses as to why someone else should give birth to Jesus. God asked her (through the angel Gabriel) and Mary said ‘Yes’ to God’s plan. She saw herself as a servant of God. She was willing to do whatever it took to serve Him. She was prepared to put up with whatever came along with that – shame, public rejection, the possibility of losing her fiancée (remember when Joseph found out she was pregnant he wanted to divorce her until the angel Gabriel visited him too).
So maybe this Christmas we can learn from Mary. Maybe we can strive to get an attitude more like hers. Possibly the greatest gift we can give to the world this Christmas is resolving to have a determination to be like Mary and just say ‘Yes’ to God, no matter what He asks, no matter what the consequences might be for our reputation. And remember the words of Gabriel to Mary – “Nothing is impossible with God” (v37). Whatever God is asking you to do, no matter how impossible it seems, strive to give it your best shot and let Him work through you to achieve great things, just like He did through Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ.