In the gospel reading we meet little Mary – simple, poor, unsophisticated and humble. She is a sweet, innocent young girl, probably of not more than confirmation age – 12, 13 or maybe 14 years old. At first glance, she seems to be one who would be one of those who would be least likely to be mentioned in the pages of scripture or as someone who would become one of the most important people in history! But by God’s grace and choosing, that is exactly who she became – the one through whom the Savior of the World was born!
First, however, our text mentions the mighty, powerful, holy angel messenger sent by God. In the right time, in the right place, to the right person, the archangel Gabriel is sent in order to bring the Word, the comfort and the promise of God. He tells Mary, “Fear not… you have found favor with God.” (v. 30) He assures her that God has bestowed His grace on her; that He has a purpose and plan for her life – a plan that will change the course of the whole world and the world to come!
God’s plan is that 1) Mary would become pregnant and have a baby boy; 2) She would name Him, “Jesus” since He will save all people from their sins (The name “Jesus” means “God saves!”); and finally, 3) He would become great, be called “Son of the Most High,” inherit the throne of David – the greatest King of Israel, He would reign (rule) forever and His kingdom would never end. (v. 31) What a promise! What a prediction!
Obedient, willing, faith-filled little Mary quietly answers, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (v. 38) With these simple words she gives herself to God’s plan. She shuts her eyes to the world and to common sense and trusts God to bring all these things to pass. She surrenders to the holy will of God. Does “surrender” sound like good news or bad? In this case, Great News! She gives herself into God’s hands; her will to His divine will; and her future into His perfect plan for the salvation of the world.
Most often, we think of “surrender” in a negative way. When we think of surrender, words like “acquiesce, defeat and even cowardice” come to mind. In our human nature, we don’t want to surrender control of our lives to God. Even when we do surrender something to God, we often “try to take it back” so that we can “do it in our own way and according to our own time.”
What is God calling your to surrender to Him today? Is it control or pride; worry or fear; bitterness or anger; some vice or jealousy? God calls you to “give it over to Him,” and He has good news for you! You, too, are highly favored. He has bestowed His grace on you and forgiven your sins! He has a purpose and plan for your life!
May God grant to each of us – His children – the same courageous, determined, immovable faith as little Mary so that we, too, may answer Him as she did, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” That’s Good news!
See you in church THIS SATURDAY for one of the Christmas Eve services (4:30, 6:00 or 10:00 p.m.) AND THIS SUNDAY (8:15 and 11:00 a.m.) for Sunday/Christmas Day services too!
Blessings in Christ,