“May it happen to me as you have said.” –Luke 1:38b (CSB)
It’s normal for us to have our goals, dreams, timetables and agendas for life, and if we have kids, we probably train our children to do the same for themselves. In fact, it seems what every self-respecting American should do! For many of us, making our ritual “New Years’ Resolutions” are only a few weeks away.
But as a devotional entitled “Try to be more Flexible”* asks, “If plans need to be changed, does it send you into a tailspin or do you stop and consider that God may have a different plan?”
One of the most remarkable examples of flexibility, obedience, and openness to God’s direction can be found in the life of Mary when an angel gave her news that must have seemed as crazy as it was dangerous.
Keep in mind that, although the Bible doesn’t specify her age, Mary was probably around the age of 14 to 16…that of a ninth- or tenth-grader. Plus, in her day and culture, an unmarried woman of any age getting pregnant was usually a death sentence at the hands of an angry mob of men casting stones.
To our modern eyes and ears, this whole scene between an angel and a teenage girl seems unreal:
“In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
For more mortals, just seeing an angel would be heart-stopping enough, but Gabriel’s multi-part message seems like a series of unswallowable whoppers.
But note Mary’s calm, almost unearthly response:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her (Luke 1:26-38 NIV).
As we prepare to enter the Christmas season and uncertainties of the new year, imagine making Mary’s spirit of calm resolve, flexibility, and obedience to God your own daily attitude and prayer: “May it happen to me as you have said.”
*The Word for You Today Devotional, Oct. 26, 2023