Picture being a teenager and finding out you are pregnant. Now imagine you are engaged, but the guy are are supposed to marry isn't the father of the child you are carrying.
I'm sure when Mary found out she and Joseph were to be married, she began to imagine what life would be like with this young man. She probably imagined taking some time to really get to know each other, spend a year or two figuring out how to make it as a young married couple. She imagined what their home would look like and what their new day-to-day lives would consist of; Joseph working as a carpenter and Mary taking care of them home, making food, and maybe picking up a couple side jobs if they needed some extra money. But before she could put the finishing touches on her fantasies of married life, Mary was hit with a curve ball.
How often do we make plans for our lives?
I'm a planner. I like to know what to expect. I like consistency in my life. I live by my schedule. And so when things don't go according to plan, I can be flexible...to a point. If things get bent too far out of shape though, I start to get really frustrated. It takes a lot for me to deal with it. I'd like to think I've gotten better at dealing with curve balls over the years, but life shattering events like what Mary was dealing with? Those don't come along very often.
Mary's world was rocked by what happened. Not only is she dealing with being pregnant with a baby that doesn't belong to her fiancé, but she's also dealing with the fact that she's carrying the son of God; the savior of the world. How does one even begin to wrap their head around that?
Just the fact that she was pregnant could have led to her banishment from the community, or worse. Do you think she even try to explain to any of her friends that she was carrying the son of God? Post this on your Facebook, "Guess what ya'll, I'm having a baby and it's the savior we've all been waiting for for thousands of years."
Let's see what kind of comments you'll get.
But Mary pressed on. She trusted God.
Just like Mary, we have to choose to trust God. There are some things in our lives that we can make the decision once and it sticks. Like, "I'm going to setup a recurring tithe because I believe it's the right thing to do."
That one can be pretty easy for a lot of people. But what about the harder choices? What about the choices that have to do with jobs, relationships, or family? What about when tragedy hits? What about that addiction? What about that one thing you just can't seem to shake from your life?
What about when you're visited by a strange man telling you that even though you are a virgin, you're now pregnant?
Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
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!31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
She had to trust that the angel of the Lord was actually an angel of the Lord. She could have ignored everything Gabriel said and went on about her business, but she listened, and she responded with trust. She knew that what Gabriel was saying was impossible. No virgin had ever gotten pregnant before. And yet, she believed him. Why? Perhaps Mary understood that our God is all about making the impossible possible.
So she carried our savior for 9 months and just about the time she should have been preparing for the birth, she was thrown another curve ball. She had to travel 60-70 miles to Joseph's home town of Bethlehem for a census.
What the crap?
She trusted God. She navigated the whispers and dealt with people talking behind her back. She trusted God, and now this? But she went. And I am sure she imagined that when they got there, they would get a nice hotel room where she could put her feet up and rest.
Even though Mary did everything she was asked to do. Even though she trusted the angel and was obedient to God's call, she still ended up in a dirty stable, going through childbirth with livestock witnesses, and placing her new born baby in a manger. But, when morning dawned, our savior was now living among us in flesh and blood. It wasn't exactly the start to the greatest story ever told.
Unless...unless you've been following the story of Israel through the Old Testament and repeatedly read stories about people who trusted God in the most messed up kind of situations. And then it becomes the perfect start to a magnificent story and shows us just how much God loves us.
And here's what's really cool. Mary carried Jesus for 9 months and brought him into this world. Thirty-three years later Jesus died and rose again so that we could carry him with us our entire lives. So even when you are trusting God and things aren't going the way you 'think' they should go, get ready! God might be weaving together another amazing story of redemption, healing, forgiveness, freedom, love, or trust.
Merry Christmas Radius.
Gather with us for our Christmas Eve celebration at 6pm. In the mean time, check out Blake's message on the story of Mary here.