There are so many elements to the Christmas story that are worth diving into to see iridescent meaning and application. One such element is the announcement of Jesus’ birth to Mary, His mother-to-be.
When Mary was visited by Gabriel and received word that she would carry and bear the Son of God, her response is probably not what many of us would have in a similar situation. Think about how quickly all of this happened. She was minding her own business, planning her wedding, enjoying life, when she was interrupted by a meeting that would change history.
With rapid-fire succession, the story unfolds with mind-bending twists and soul-stirring turns:
-An angel appears to her (not normal).
-He greets her as “favored one,” or “woman richly blessed.” How am I blessed? she thinks.
-As she mulls this over, she hears something about conceiving a baby. This is impossible; I have never been intimate with a man.
-Then the angel tells her what to name the baby. Wait, I don’t get to name my baby?
-His name will reflect the Person He is—the Son of God, the promised King who will reign forever.
-This is all going to happen by the Holy Spirit, for nothing is impossible with God.
That’s a lot of information for the angel to give at the first meeting, isn’t it? Why couldn’t they get to know each other a little before he dumped all of this on her plate? But there are no brakes on this conversation, and Mary’s fine with it.
What is Mary’s response? Well, it’s not to take a few days off to decide whether she’s going to be in on this endeavor. This is an announcement, not an offer. Her response is not to analyze everything to find out why this is happening and try to connect the dots and make sense of it all. It doesn’t make sense. Her response is not a knee-jerk rebellion in which she asserts her rights and freedoms as an individual. Instead, her response is a calm compliance. It’s a soft submission. It’s a yielding “yes.”
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
We can learn so much from those two small sentences. We have to understand our position in relation to God. We are his servants. That means we serve Him. That means our lives serve His purposes—purposes that are much bigger and more comprehensive than our small days here on this earth. We are a part of a much broader whole—one that maximizes the glory to God, one that transcends generational and geographical and denominational and racial and cultural lines, one that sacrifices self for the greater good of the gospel and one that casts off the temporal with a view toward the eternal.
When we see ourselves as creatures designed to serve our Creator, then whatever news an angel brings, whatever direction our Shepherd leads, or whatever comforts we’re called to leave, we will say compliantly, “let it be to me according to your word.” For we know that no matter how crazy it sounds and how much we may think we want out of it, the plan of God is purer, more joyous, more soul-satisfying, and more Christ-glorifying than the small dreams we see through our limited windows. Oh Lord, let it be to us according to Your word.