Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Good Christian Men Rejoice"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 1:38a – Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant, and I am willing to do whatever he wants." (TLB)
Luke 1:45 – You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said. (NLT)
One Christmas, my 16-year-old sister got pregnant by her boyfriend. I was a year younger, and neither of us had the slightest idea how such a thing could happen. No one had ever told us anything, and we had no friends who might share that information, living the isolated life that we had. In those days, young, unmarried, pregnant women (like Jesus' mother, Mary) were sent to reform school, and their babies were pronounced "illegitimate" and often taken away and adopted. My parents were scandalized and immediately forced the reluctant couple into a marriage that was soon over. Everywhere, there was gossip about how my sister had gone bad, coupled with intense speculation that I would be next. In these days of unmarried celebrities announcing a baby on the way, it is easy to overlook how hard Mary must have had it. Village gossip hasn't changed any since the beginning of time. Were those same, loose-tongued finger-waggers down at the cross, 30 years later, nodding and confirming that they always knew that He would come to a bad end?
God gave Mary a choice. Without hesitating, she immediately chose Him, knowing that her whole life would be changed, not just for nine months but forever. God gives us the same choice: "Come, follow me." Our other option is to go our own way, rejecting His presence in our lives. Sometimes, that choice is clear-cut. Unseen angels may even be present as we choose a daily walk of faith. Someone said, In every act of faith, there is often a seed of fear. Mary had no such hesitation, despite knowing what the neighbours would say. Fear of gossip must have been a real temptation, but her commitment never wavered.
There she is in the second chapter of Luke, still unmarried and about to give birth, riding on a donkey. Anyone who has ever been pregnant knows what that kind of transport would have felt like, including the lack of washrooms and paramedics, finishing up with no comfortable place to lie down and rest. Still, we hear no complaint from Mary.
What will our choice be today when God calls on us? Are we listening? Are we weighing our options, or will we respond, as she did, with an immediate "Yes"? Are we faithful when temptation comes? Mary was young and poor, not famous or powerful, but God has used her down through the ages as an example of a steadfast, willing believer, ready to follow Him.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we are grateful to have the choice today to follow You. Thank You for Scripture, which in all its translations shows us how to walk with You in prayer and willingness. Thank You for the example of the woman that You chose to bear Your Son, in whose name we pray. Amen.