As I put myself in Mary's shoes, I wonder what my response would have been when Gabriel announced that I would give birth, knowing full well that I was a virgin. What a disgrace she would now be considered to her family and community. What a slap in the face to Joseph, her finance, who also knew full well that there was no way the child in Mary's womb was his. What great faith Mary had when she said to the angel, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be done to me as you have said." I would like to think that I would have given the same response as Mary, but how could I ever say for sure that I would have been so willing to do so. After all, when Mary accepted this task she ran the risk of being stoned to death, losing Joseph, and, as I said before, disgracing her family. What a mature and selfless young woman Mary had to be to set all these things aside and simply trust her God. How I pray to have that kind of faith; strong...courageous... unwavering.
Not only did she have faith when the angel told her she would be with with child, but think about the journey along the way. As my pastor also pointed out, there could not have been a worse time for a census to be issued when Mary was so close to giving birth. The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 80 miles. I have not yet experienced what it's like to be pregnant, but I have a lot of friends who have, and I would guess that they would definitely pass on traveling 80 miles-on a donkey- while being 9 months pregnant! Not only that, but then going into labor and giving birth in a stable. If I were Mary I'm sure I would have thought to myself, "This is the Messiah, the Son of God, and he is going to be born in a stable?"
However, the thing I love most about God is that He can redeem anything and make it beautiful, and how beautiful it is to think our Savior entered the world in such a state of humility. He deserved so much more than a stable and a manger, but as the Bible tells us He, "Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross!" (Phil 2:6-8)
What a sweet, sweet Savior that we serve. Jesus did not deserve the cross, but yet He knew it was the only way to save us, so that we may have the hope of eternity. I am so thankful that Jesus did not stay a baby. He choose to live and die on the cross, and after resurrecting, is now sitting on the throne at the right hand of God, waiting for the day when He can come and rescue us. I am looking so forward to that glorious day, friends, and I pray that you are too. Over the next few weeks let's meditate on the humble way that Jesus came to earth during His first coming, and gladly rejoice in the hope of His second coming where He will forever reign as King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Until then, I pray that my heart would be made a dwelling place for Him, and that I may have such an immoveable faith as Mary.