As Christmas winds down to a close, I’m feeling very reflective about the reason for the season. I’ve known the story of Jesus’ birth for as long as I could remember, but this year, I can’t stop thinking about His mother, Mary. So, for those who don’t know, Mary was a virgin who was visited in a dream by an angel who told her that she would give birth to a son. She was told that the child should be named Jesus, and that He would be the great and mighty Son of God. Fortunately, Mary’s fiancee, Joseph, was also visited by an angel, who relayed the same message to him. Seriously, it’s a good thing, because I don’t care how good a man is, if he finds out that his wife to be comes up pregnant and he knows he hasn’t ever, you know, somebody might be calling a wedding off!
In thinking about all that happened to Mary, and how she and Joseph both trusted the angels, and were obedient to God, I’m inspired to be a more faithful mother. Look, I’ll be honest. The reality is, had I been in Mary’s position back in the day, there’s a huge chance that we’d all be in a heap of trouble right now. I can just see me with my big mouth getting all sassy with the angel:
ANGEL OF THE LORD
(enters wearing all white…of course) Rejoice highly favored one, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women.
(sits up in bed. Fixes her headscarf)
Wait. Hold up, hold up, HOLD UP! I know you ain’t just going to come up in here, interrupt my sleep, and start talking all complicated.
ANGEL OF THE LORD
Do not be afraid, Brandi, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
Uh, say what now? I’m going to have a baby by who? Oh, uh uh. I’m saving myself until marriage, anyway, honey. Come back and see me after I drag Joseph down that aisle.
ANGEL OF THE LORD
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
The Holy Spirit’s going to do what??? Oh, no! Ain’t nobody got time for that!
I realized, in reflecting on Mary’s life, how easy it is for me to obey when I know and understand what it is that God is commanding me to do. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not kill. I get those, no problem. It’s the directions that don’t make sense to me in the moment that are a lot more challenging to accept. “But, God, why do you want me to show love to this person?”, “Lord, why are you telling me to stay here?”, “Father, why do I need to give this thing up?” Those things, the calls that we don’t understand, the ones that are not in the plans that we’ve designed for ourselves…they’re hard to follow.
That’s where faith comes in. Trusting that God has a blueprint for our lives, and that our steps are ordered can help us save a lot of the heartbreak that we feel when we disobey God’s will for us and try to trek our own way. In my life, I can think of specific instances when I know good and well I was being told to do something, but instead I did what I wanted to do. Well, not only did things turn out to be disastrous, but eventually, I ended up doing exactly what He had told me to do anyway!
I thank God for Mary and Joseph’s obedience. We were given the greatest gift ever thanks to them following God’s call on their lives. I mean, Mary was a VIRGIN! She and Joseph weren’t even married, yet! And yet, still, they did exactly as they were told. Whoo, now that is some sho’ nuff obedience right there! What about you? Have you ever been called to do something that you didn’t understand? Were you obedient to that call? How did it turn out?