Did you go out shopping the day after Thanksgiving? I went out briefly and couldn’t help but look at the chaos and think of the movie, Vantage Point. I found it interesting watching people and their “plan of attack” as they went after an item in a store. Some people didn’t even realize others were in the store with them. It was as if the store opened for the sole purpose of serving them. Others seemed to display more of a Christmas spirit about them. The sales clerks who probably started their day with smiles seemed to have strained expressions as the day progressed. I thought it would have been interesting to interview people and hear how the day went from their vantage point.
As I reflected on the idea, I thought it might be interesting for us to dive into the scriptures and look at the story of the first Christmas from different vantage points. After all, the people in the story were real and they must have seen things from different points of view.
In Luke 1:26-28 we read of an angelic visitation. Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she wasn’t just favored, but highly favored. I don’t know about you, but I would be in awe by the fact that an angel appeared to me in the first place. I would be completely blown away if he appeared to me and told me I was highly favored. Mary, however, was troubled by his words [vs.29]. She was so troubled, in fact, that the next thing the angel told her was “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.”
The next words from the angel Gabriel not only changed Mary’s life forever, but they would change the world…”You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” [vs 31]
Mary was approximately 13 years old and she was betrothed to a man named Joseph. Mary knew she was a virgin and she was smart enough to know where babies came from so there was a bit of confusion. In verse 34 she boldly asks “How can this be since I am a virgin?”
Gabriel tells her of the plan of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. He also tells her that her relative Elizabeth, who was old and thought to be barren, would have a baby. He reminds her nothing is impossible with God [vs. 35-37].
Don’t miss God’s goodness in these verses. He knew Mary was young. He knew she would need the love and encouragement of someone she loved and respected. After all, when word got out she was pregnant, the people would assume the logical thing had taken place…she had been unfaithful to Joseph before their wedding. The Lord knows sometimes we need people with skin on to walk beside us through trials we face. He provided Elizabeth to be there for Mary. We serve such a good God.
Finally, Mary’s response is not something to be glossed over. Here is a young girl who is about to be put through the gossip mill of her community and going to have to face her betrothed and tell him she’s pregnant but not to worry because the baby belongs to God. She is from the house of David. She has the family name to think about and she has to face her parents and explain her situation. I don’t know about you, but I would want to go hide in a cave for a while. Mary, however, demonstrates why the Father chose her in the first place. Take a look at verse 38 -“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “may it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Now God didn’t need Mary’s permission to make this happen. He could have gone through with it no matter what her response was to the situation. He allowed us to hear her response so we would get a glimpse of a heart totally surrendered to Him.
This Christmas season as you go about shopping, baking and wrapping your packages, take a moment to evaluate your heart. Are you at a place where your response to the Lord is “may it be to me as you have said” no matter what He’s calling you to walk through? If not, ask Him to help you get there. It is the desire of His heart that He be the desire of yours.