If you were the Jewish girl named Mary, it was about this time of the year that your life changed. Nine months from now it would Christmas, but the pain and party of that blessed day was far away.
Sometime about now if you were Mary, then you had to say “yes” to God.
First the annunciation. Mary said “yes” and God came down and dwelt among us.
Sometime this week Christmas became a certainty, because Mary said “yes.” God takes “no” for an answer, He will allow humans to separate from Him, but He also takes our “yes.”
Amazing thought: God came, Mary said “yes,” and then He dwelt within her.
Of course, in a culture that is always reducing women to wombs the temptation is to glorify Mary as some sort of “carrier” of God in the flesh, but Jesus Himself rebuked that notion. Mary isn’t blessed amongst women because she housed Jesus or breast fed Him.
She is blessed because God courted and she said “yes.” She had been faithful and was ready for the question both in her body but most importantly in her mind. Mary made Christmas possible.
Christmas is a long ways off, however, and Good Friday is remembered between now and then. This is significant, because it models the immediate impact of Mary’s decision. She faced shame, misunderstanding, and almost losing her fiancee Joseph to her implausible-sounding story and obvious pregnancy. Swords began to pierce her heart immediately and though Jesus was within, He was not obvious right away. She could not see Him or hear Him.
She could only keep saying “yes” and refuse to abort what God was doing within her.
The pathway to Christmas led through many Good Friday’s, deaths of particular dreams, and had many Easters. Imagine the first time she felt the Son of God leap in her womb! Imagine seeing a relative, Elizabeth, and having her not only understand, but rejoice in the miraculous birth.
God came and dwelt among us by became fully human, but it began when Mary said “yes.”
This Lent it seems a long time until I see Christ in the flesh. Someday He will come and I will see Him with unveiled eyes if I will say “yes” to Him. He is birthing something within me and someday the result will be easy for all to see, but neither my death nor His Second Coming have happened yet.
There is a Good Friday and an Easter feast between me and the Advent.
I must say “yes” to God and participate with Him in the process of sanctification, never aborting what He is doing in me. It is not the works I do for Him that will save me, but only His work. I am blessed, happy, because God takes my imperfect, confused, clumsy “yes” as a real “yes.”
Just as women must think of themselves as “sons of God” in the many images of Scripture so it is good for me to remember that I am part of the “bride of Christ.” Before God I am not the initiator and it will not be my family name that endures.
I join His people, Christendom, He does not join mine.
Mary is a model and I say to God: “Behold the servant of the Lord, be it done unto me according to your will.”