Each year, when I read the birth story of Jesus, I usually imagine myself as one of the shepherds who heard about Jesus being born and wanted to go and see him. This year, however, I read the birth story from the perspective of Jesus’ mother, Mary.
Now that I am a mother, I can only imagine what Mary must have been going through as she had to travel with Joseph while she was pregnant and about to go into labor. Not only that, but Mary knew that she was carrying the Son of God. The angel Gabriel came to Mary and told her that she would be pregnant with a son who would be called the Son of the Most High. What an extraordinary responsibility to bear.
I have no idea how I would have reacted if an angel came to me and told me something like that. Knowing me, I would have said something along these lines: Well, how can this happen? I’m too young! And plus, I haven’t even accomplished all of the other dreams that I set out for myself. Can you give me some more time, please!? That may have been my reaction, but let’s see how Mary reacted:
Even though I know this story, I always find myself in awe of Mary’s humble response. Mary heard what the Lord has planned for her life and she basically said, "Okay, may your will be done in my life." Oh, how I long to have a heart like Mary’s – a heart that says “yes” to the plans of God!“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled." (Luke 1:38)
There are times when God has placed something on my heart – either to do something or to not do something – and I had a very hard time being obedient. I sometimes believe that I know what’s best for my life, so I want things to go my way. I’m sure Mary, too, had plans for her life, but she was wise enough to know that God’s plans for her would be infinitely greater than what she could have planned out for herself.
The very talented Amy Grant sings a beautiful song titled Breath of Heaven. There’s a line in the song that says, “But I offer all I am, for the mercy of your plan.” That is the heart of Mary, laying down her plans and picking up God’s plans for her life. I imagine it wasn’t easy, but she did it anyways.