Most recently, I was privy to a discussion between two girls who looked to be in their early 20's. "I'm just not sure I want to do that to my body", one stated matter-of-factly. They were talking about having kids. The possibility of stretch marks, weight gain, and of course, the responsibility of having to look after somebody other than themselves, had incited quite a deliberation between the two.
I would have loved to be the Christian lady who was full of grace and understanding in that moment of listening, but my initial reaction was muted outrage. "Those moms? Do you have any freaking idea how hard it is to make time to exercise? How hard it is not to eat the last two cold chicken nuggets off the Lighting McQueen kiddie plate instead of pitching them wastefully into the trash?" But then, I got to giggling silently behind that curtain. A scenario began to play itself out in my mind.
Angel to Mary: "Don't be afraid, I'm just one of God's angels and I have awesome news. God chose you to grow and deliver the Son of God!! He will arrive onto the earth to save everybody because of your willingness to be pregnant. He will be called the Son of the Highest!"
Mary to Angel: "I'd really love to, but you see, I'm just a teenager, and these are my most beautiful years...free of scarring, cellulite, loose skin, and stretch marks. I'd prefer you'd come back when I'm ancient and done being 'hot', you know, like when I'm 30!"
Now, be sure that I am under no illusion that every single American girl is as shallow and immature as I have jokingly suggested. It just seems that we girls tend to get our blessings confused with liabilities nowadays.
Mary's actual words were, “I am willing to be used of the Lord. Let it happen to me as you have said.”
Mary wasn't brought up reading Teen Vogue or posting to Instagram. She most likely wasn't concerned with which patterns and fabric cuts would slim her waist or what the girls in the next town were into. She probably wore a simple tunic. Even belted, it would have covered her feminine curves. There is no denying the difference in our times and cultures.
She was brought up studying texts that encouraged her to:
- be a good wife that was worth more than rubies that make someone rich
- to see that what she earned was good
- to be a woman clothed in strength and honor,
- to be a woman full of joy about the future,
- a woman with arms are that were strong, and
- whose words were wise, and whose acts were kind
Mary was chosen. She was mature and ready because her spiritual life was solid and carefully cultivated. She kept her eye on the prize. She didn't wait until she was comfortable, or confident, or until she had all the answers. She didn't even wait until somebody gave her permission. She just said yes. I bet she even got a stretch mark, though the reward was an amazing adventure story written by God, Himself.
If an average, but obedient teenage girl from Nazareth with no prior fame could have the audacity to say, "sure God, use me", then what are we waiting for? What are you being asked to do as a next step of faith?
Let's not make excuses. Let's risk it! Let's chance the adventure as we celebrate the blessing of our Savior; the beautiful and eternal result of Mary's courageous, "yes"!
When she saw the angel, she was troubled at his words. She thought about what had been said. The angel said to her, “Mary, do not be afraid. You have found favor with God. See! You are to become a mother and have a Son. You are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great. He will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the place where His early father David sat. He will be King over the family of Jacob forever and His nation will have no end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I have never had a man.” The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come on you. The power of the Most High will cover you. The holy Child you give birth to will be called the Son of God."
"See, your cousin Elizabeth, as old as she is, is going to give birth to a child. She was not able to have children before, but now she is in her sixth month. For God can do all things.” Then Mary said, “I am willing to be used of the Lord. Let it happen to me as you have said.” Then the angel went away from her.