img_4737There is a pastor who tells of the annual children’s Christmas pageant at his church. Each year, as Advent approaches, the children are gathered, and the parts of the Christmas pageant are assigned. The children play all the parts; wise men, shepherds, stable animals, but none is more popular than the part of Mary. Only when the question, “Who wants to be Mary?” is asked, do all the little hands in the room fly up in eager anticipation. And yet, this pastor reflects, “I wonder if Mary wanted to be Mary?”
As a young woman, probably no more than 13 or 14 years old, she compromised her entire future. She surrendered her body and carried within her the Christ-child for 9 months. Do you think Mary wanted to be Mary? She became Theotokos, the “God-bearer,” and she went through the dangerous ordeal of childbirth. Then she nurtured the child; she fed him, clothed him; she raised him, taught him scriptures, and modeled the faith. And 33 years later, after he had taught the world about the unfathomable love of God, she watched him die on a cross, in accordance with God’s will. The will of God, which she knew requires so much of all of God’s servants. Do you think Mary wanted to be Mary?
God uses the willing heart
Sometimes, when God calls us, what God calls us to is hard, not easy. It’s not what we want or what we dream about; it could be risky and dangerous, it could separate us from everything we know and love. And that is where we have so much to learn from Mary today. We cannot downplay Mary’s significance in history. No other person, besides Jesus himself, plays a greater role in the salvation of the human race than Mary. And it was all because of her faith in the God who called her, and her willingness to serve him.
So what is it we need to take from this lesson this morning? That God favors the humble and lowly, and that we need to make sure are hearts and minds are always in the right place to respond to God’s call? Absolutely! Perhaps the thing to remember is that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). That’s important too. Does this story remind us that God is the giver of new life? It certainly does! But the most important part of this story is that when Mary was asked to do something hard, when Mary was asked to surrender everything and serve God, her answer was, “Yes!”
Are we so very willing? This Advent season, as we prepare once again for a Christmas celebration not only remembering Christ’s birth, but anticipating that day when he will come again, we need to take time to search our own hearts and minds. We need to ask the tough questions of ourselves and examine our values. In the midst of the chaos of Christmas shopping, musical programs, and holiday parties, we need to pause, and humble ourselves before God in prayer, crying out, “I am the Lord’s servant. God, I am your servant” (Luke 1:38). And then as we listen for that often unexpected call from God, we all need to explore our own willingness to say like Mary, “Here I am, Lord, use me.”
What can you clear out of your daily schedule to better hear from God?
Are you being obedient to what God is asking of you today? What can you do to be quick to obey?


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