A couple weeks ago I was asked to be Mary in my church’s Christmas play…or, actually, in the four scenes to be performed before the four sermons on the four Sundays before Christmas. And, while practicing my lines, I was struck by a line that I hadn’t ever heard before… I don’t think. And, the crazy thing is, it WASN’T one of Mary’s. Actually, it’s Elizabeth’s. It’s found in Luke, Luke 1:45, to be exact. Mary has just shown up at Elizabeth’s door, and the baby in Elizabeth, soon to be known as John-The-Baptist, leaps (ummmm – he doesn’t have room to leap, obviously – he probably kicks, or spins about inside, or just does a quick spread-eagle) for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice. So, Elizabeth greets Mary with prophetic words, words that confirm to Mary what the Angel already said. AND THEN ELIZABETH ends with “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (that’s the verse 45 part).
Every time I practice (so, 12 times this last Sunday morning to start with) I’m shocked by that. If I had been Mary, and an angel had come to me, telling me that though I was a virgin, I was going to give birth to the Messiah everyone had been waiting for, I’m not sure I would have believed him. I would most definitely have questioned him more than simply saying, “But how will this be, since I am a virgin?” But that’s all she asked, and she must’ve asked with a right heart, for the angel had no problem with her question.
Somehow, even though she wanted to know HOW this was going to be (I would too), she completely believed that God was going to do just exactly what the angel said. I wonder if that’s why God picked her or had been preparing her? Because He knew she had the faith to accept the impossible. How much did her faith play into her giving birth to Jesus? My guess is, a lot.
Have you ever had anyone come up to you and tell you something from God, or just know in the very core of your heart that God was telling you something, and then, a day or so later, think to yourself, “Oh, that wasn’t God. That was just a bit of my wishing, a bad night’s sleep, a bit of undigested meat” (sorry, I got a bit Christmas Carol-y there). I know I have. Granted, I’ve never been told I’m going to give birth to the savior of the world, but I have been told some other stuff about myself and my life – much more every-day-type stuff. But I still tend to dismiss the impossible, the improbable, or the just way too good. And I think, maybe, I’ve been sinning. I think maybe I need to start believing, or at the very least pondering and testing, those words spoken to me either BY God, or by someone He sent. It’s actually probably pretty rude for me to not at least consider words that God Himself took the time to tell me. Kinda like slapping Him in the face. And that would break my heart.
So, this Advent Season, these four weeks before Christmas, my prayer is to be like Mary.
I want to believe the impossible too.