Mary, I see you. Humble, meek, and mild. That’s what we’ve written about you over the centuries. If you weren’t humble, I’d imagine you’d be fiery mad at all the things we’ve said. The way we’ve dressed you and positioned you in our Nativity scenes. The way we’ve categorized and marginalized you. Humble, meek, and mild.
You were humble, but not in a simpering, cowering way. Perhaps “deferential” is a better word.
You had a quiet respect for the God your family worshipped, but who had been seemingly still for over 400 years. You had an expectation that He promised a Deliverer. You were so inclined to Him that when He stirred within you it scared you to death, but you trusted His heart.
It must have been excruciatingly difficult to receive news that you were to become pregnant, but not with your husband’s baby. Not even with your fiance’s child. In a culture that stones women to death for pre-marital or extra-marital relations, you took the news like a champ. Luke described you as “confused” and “disturbed” when Gabriel first appeared. That was likely an understatement!
You defended yourself. “How can this happen? I may be young, but I’m not naive. I’m a virgin. Yessir, I am! 100%! Without a doubt.”
But after a little clarification from Gabriel, you said, “I am the LORD’s servant. Let everything you say be true.” All you needed was more detail. You sound like my kind of girl.
I can’t imagine you were meek. Webster’s Dictionary defines that as “spiritless, tame.” I’m sorry, but I think that relegates you to something akin to an incubator. And as a mother of four strong-willed sons, I know it takes a thick skin and healthy resilience to get that assignment. You had a house full of boys, too.
No. I like to think you were pragmatic. You could be sweet, but you also knew to stand up for yourself.
Were you petite? Those girls always seem to get the part of Mary in the church play. But I imagine you were a bigger girl, somewhat rugged. You did journey quite a distance, likely by foot, while advanced in your pregnancy.
Maybe your hair wasn’t luxurious and flowing. Maybe your skin was acne-prone or you had a gap between your front teeth. What if you never liked your nose? I wonder…
I wonder because people call me sweet. And that’s okay because I know the Spirit of the Most High overshadows me. If he didn’t, I’d be the meanest girl on the planet. I’d be angry and bitter. I’d be resentful and judgmental. The Taming of the Shrew would be the name of my biography!
Simultaneously, I’d be depressed and sullen. I’d be withdrawn and rude. And whiny? I’d be the queen!
So let me just reiterate, I see you.
You should know, when I’ve been asked to be God’s girl in some brutal scenarios I’ve been as mindful of His presence as you were—because you did it first. What an amazing example you set for us all. Not showing us how to hear the call of God and yield in cowering helplessness, but to rise to the occasion. Full of knowing. Full of faith that whatever work He begins isn’t about us, but His glory and the hope of all mankind.
Yes, that’s who I see when I see you, Mary. You were God’s girl and I want to be God’s girl. Every single time.
Thank you for being open and tender to something that made no sense. That had no precedent in generations before you. That came from a God who seemed distant and removed but was very much working out His plan. I cannot fathom how strong you were, but I know if you and I could chat, you’d tell me to never give up on trusting His way of doing things.
You showed me that the months of waiting for that plan to be delivered may be long. I may have to go to places that are foreign and uncomfortable. I may journey with someone who seems like a stranger. And after all the pain and suffering, the plan might be delivered in the least likely way, in the least likely place.
But, if I am committed to our Father, if I seek His strength through the stress, many lives can be changed. Wow! What a beautiful plan. My, what a God!
May 2021 find us aware that nothing we have is necessary or eternal apart from a relationship with our Creator, who became flesh and inhabits our flesh, giving us provision for anything. Anything.
Never forget that 2020 was the year He gave us to come alive to this revelation: It’s all about Him and He invites us to trust His heart in all things. He gives us joy for it all. And He’s crazy in love with us.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Be kind. Love well.