I love Ken Gire’s creative depictions from the life of Jesus entitled “Moments with the Savior.” I find myself especially drawn to the moments surrounding the birth narrative. The pull quote below is just part of his meditation on the encounter Mary had with Gabriel…
But it was one thing for Elizabeth to become pregnant. It was quite another thing for Mary. Elizabeth was married, and had been most of her life. Mary was engaged, and that only recently. In light of that, her response is extraordinary.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”
When Mary submitted to God’s will, she subjected herself to great risk. In the balance hung not only her reputation but her life. At worst, she would be stoned. At best, she would be ridiculed.
Imagine the rumors that would circulate around the only spring in town where everyone came to draw water. “Loosely woven morals always come unraveled,” an old woman piously says as she fills her jar. Another woman, half in Mary’s defense, speaks up. “So easy for a nice girl to get in trouble here, what, with foreign traders spending the night, Roman soldiers passing through.”
As Mary’s story would become public, the rumors would harden to ridicule. Imagine the looks. The smirks. The comments. “An Angel visited her? Uh huh. And said what? The Holy Spirit. She said that? And you believed her?”
Who in their right mind would?
Joseph? Her in-laws? The rabbi? Who?
Maybe no one would believe. But that wouldn’t keep her from believing.
Her faith was courageous. We know that because her decision was quick, and her obedience complete. She would submit to God. Regardless of the questions it would raise. Or the eyebrows. Regardless of the cost. Or the consequences. Regardless if it meant losing her reputation. Or the man she loved.
Even her very life.
And maybe, of all the favorable qualities this young woman had, maybe it was this “regardless” quality that made her most suited to the task of raising such a wonderful promise. For “regardless” had to be a quality that was instinctive if the promise were ever to grow up and reach fulfillment as Savior of the world.
I found that instructive for my faith. After all, isn’t that what faith is? “God, here I am. Do with me what You will!”
Blessing and Merry Christmas!