As I imagine young Mary looking in the face of the angel Gabriel, I wonder what she felt. It says that "she was greatly troubled," (Luke 1:29). Her thoughts must have been wondering astray. Why was this angel coming to her. What could this mean? The angel comforted her by saying, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God," (Luke 1:30).
"Do not be afraid" can be found in the Bible, supposedly (I have not counted myself), 365 times. That is one for every day of the year. 2020 was a year full of fear. All of us experienced fear in one capacity or the other. Imagine the fear of Mary in these moments. Uncertainty, questions, doubts, and fears must have flooded her mind. She, too, felt fear and was reminded to not be afraid. As a young woman in her time having a baby out of wedlock would most definitely be dangerous. What would Joseph think? What would her family think? What would her community do to her?
"For nothing is impossible with God," (Luke 1:37) Gabriel explains why she should not fear. This statement alone is reason enough to accept the task God has placed in her path. Mary claims she is "the servant of the Lord; let it be according to your word," (Luke 1:38).
Mary knew Who her baby was. Gabriel explained that He would be the "Son of the Most High," (Luke 1:32). This child would be the child everyone had been waiting for. Notice that there was no guarantee of Mary's own safety. A long and happy life was not promised to her. Her family and Josephs' support were not vowed to her. She accepted His call, knowing that God wanted to use her for something much bigger than she could have ever imagined. He called her into His story. She would serve her Heavenly Father willingly and gratefully. She stepped into the unknown with only the promise of carrying and birthing a child.
Mary is one of several faithful people we can learn from in the Bible. So many more unknowns and uncertainties came to be when she accepted her call from God. To be entirely honest with you, fully accepting Christ into our life is a lot like the moment that Mary accepted Christ into her body. We don't know what we are fully being called into but all we know is that He is about to change our lives forever. We don't know what it's going to look like. We don't want to mess up. We want to be used by Him. We know that He is our Savior. We don't know what our temporary life will look like, but we do know that we will be living in eternity with our Creator.
Accepting Christ fully never promises an easy known temporary life, but an eternal life with Him. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, "So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."
This Christmas season, remember the reason for the season.
"So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
- Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV)