In all of the Christmas pageants of my youth, I never got to play the part of Mary. It was a significant disappointment, and it has taken me years to accept this oversight. So, you will join in my rejoicing as I share with you the good news of my recent nod from the Director. It seems there is still a chance for us all.
Luke 1 tells of the angel Gabriel approaching Mary with news of her being chosen to give birth to the Son of God. “The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you… Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.”
When Mary was cast in this role it had something to do with her favor with God. I wonder what that means… favor. Throughout the Old Testament, men and women found favor with God as they listened to Him, trusted Him, obeyed Him and walked with Him. He was in their thoughts, their plans, their hearts. He was ahead of them, behind them, with them. He was I AM to them. For me in 2015, that sounds like belief in its deepest and yet simplest form. Belief that He is all I need. Belief that He is so big, so close, so good, so deliberate in His every awareness of my life that He becomes an extension of me, as I become an extension of Him. Inseparable. Entwined.
John 15:7 “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask … and it shall be done for you.”
I have thought about Mary and this abiding and this favor a lot this Christmas, because I want all of it. But how? I don’t really know for sure, but I think it has to do with planting His words into my soul’s depths with the belief they will grow and become something bigger than me. Just as we believe a seed properly planted will become something else, His words inside of me - Him in me - will yield something new. Him in me changes me, grows me, stretches me, refines me from the inside out. And something else happens along the way. It’s as if I am being prepared for a place I long for but have never seen.
Here we sit at Christmas. And I hear an offering for each of us to play a most sacred role in THE story of our time… You see, I think He is asking all of us to be Mary. It may sounds something like this:
Daughter, will you take My word, My Self into your heart and become pregnant with all the potential of a new life? I am asking only that you abide in me, as My word abides in you. Like a pregnant woman watches new life grow inside of her – something she can only partially see and feel but not fully understand - will you allow Me to grow inside of you? By saying yes, you will begin to see the splendor of Eternity dripping into your everyday life. I ask only that you love this new Life with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. The life inside of you is called Jesus. He is love itself, and He is your Emmanuel. Follow Him wherever He goes. He will comfort you, heal you, bring you peace and joy as you have never known. Trust Him, because He is good. He will show you the way to Me. And with Me, you will understand; for it is with Me that you have always belonged. I have given all that I loved most to give you this opportunity, this gift. I desire you to say yes, because I love you so. This is My Hand reaching down to you. Will you receive this new Life you were born to love?
And just like that, this story is our story. The part is ours for the taking. So, what if we played the part of Mary this Christmas by saying, “Let it be”?