Monday, December 22, 2008

Mary's Road

This fall I got the opportunity to write two entries for our church's Jesse Tree Advent Devotional. The Jesse Tree idea is based on the prophecy of a shoot from the house of Jesse and looks at God's plan of salvation as revealed in the lives of those in Jesus' family tree. I got to write devotionals based on Mary and Judah. This is the Mary devotional.

One day a little while before Jesus was born the angel Gabriel appeared to a teenage girl in Nazareth. “Hail, you who are highly favored,” he said. “You will bear a son and call him Jesus, and he will reign on the throne of David forever.” Bewildered, she asked, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” “The power of the Holy Spirit will accomplish it.” “Let it be to me,” she responded, “As the Lord wills.”

Imagine what that moment must have been like. We know from Mary’s song when she visited her cousin Elizabeth that she expected and longed for the Lord’s deliverance of Israel from oppression by the Romans and the Herodians. But she could not have imagined that God’s answer to her and her people’s prayers would involve her so intimately and dangerously. Before that hour how could she know that she was the Virgin Isaiah had foretold who would bear the One in whom the presence of God would walk among us. She heard shepherds tell how an army of angels had appeared praising God that this child was “The Messiah, the Lord.” Simeon told her that this child was the promised salvation of Israel and a light to the Gentiles and a sword that would pierce her own soul. Could she see that the boy who so impressed the temple rulers would one day be accused by them of blasphemy and be condemned? Could she imagine that there would come a day when she thought he was driven mad? A day when she watched him die, accursed by God and man. A day of mourning and fear that began with preparations for embalming a corpse but ended with an empty tomb, angels, and the words “He is not here. He is risen.” Could she look to the day of prayer and the mighty rushing wind and tongues like fire that signified the Holy Spirit poured out on His church. She stood balanced on the edge of the ages and she said, “I am the slave of God. Let Him do to me whatever He wills.”

Mary longed to see God’s salvation. When it came it was not what she expected or could fully comprehend, but she said, “Yes.” What do you long to see God do? Are you ready and willing to say, “Yes, Lord, I’m your slave. Do what you will?” Mary’s road held fear, doubt, confusion, and pain, but it led to resurrection and glory in the Kingdom of God. Is there some other road you’d rather walk?

No comments: