We are living in the "after" of this story. I want you to remember this.
It's a truth I have to remind myself of whenever I fall into thinking the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus was simple. It was anything but for that time period.
God could have chosen to enter the world in any number of ways but he chose a road that meant scandal. He chose a virgin teenage girl, promised to be married to a man named Joseph, to unveil his big plans. We see awe and wonder in this story but we cannot forget that this story could have easily meant shame for Mary. It could have easily been a secret she hid from the rest of the world.
Mary chose to enter into the story with faith rather than fear.
No sooner had Mary arrived at her cousin Elizabeth's doorstep when she broke into song. It’s a full-blown pregnant woman musical at his point as Mary belts out:
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened— I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him.
Mary’s response is faith, never fear, throughout the entire story. She arguably had every reason to freak out over the story unfolding in front of her but she stood firm in her faith and scripted that faith into an anthem.
I can think of several instances in my life where I did not sing a Mary song. Instead, I rehearsed back a familiar anthem of fear to myself. Fear that God would not show up. Fear that promises would not unfold. Fear that I would take the next step only to trip and fall.
Every day, I can choose to glorify God for what he doing or I can script a solo story where everything is left to weigh upon my shoulders. One path leads to peace. The other path? Well, it’s not only a false story but it's also a lonely one.
In your own story, you will often be faced with the same choice: faith or fear. Faith that God will do it or fear that it's all up to you.
I love that Mary never questioned her place in the story. She thought it through and asked some hard questions but ultimately her response was, "I am the Lord's servant so I will go wherever he leads me."
Another faith giant from the Bible, Moses, had a completely opposite response to God using him in such a big way and I want to emphasize it for one second because there is something there for us today. When God outlined his plans to use Moses, Moses responded by saying, "Who am I that you would use me?" He doubted. He responded out of fear.
But do you know what God said back to his question? He simply said, "I will be with you."
Not "you are the right one."
Not "you have it what it takes."
But "I will be with you."
He did not stroke Moses' ego or build up his self-esteem. He pointed back to himself to remind Moses that his power would come through the One who was with him.
Moses didn't get this but a teenage girl could see it in black and white.
We don't need to be qualified to enter into the story. God walking alongside us is the only qualification we need. His presence in our story is how we will move forward and tackle everything he has up ahead for us. We don't need to be afraid of where God is leading us because his promise rings true thousands of years after he first spoke it out: I will be with you.
Today you can soak in the reminder that he is a God who picks you out of the crowd for a divine purpose. He makes no mistakes. He never gets it wrong. He’s not playing head games with you. He does not spoil his children only to pull the rug out from underneath them.
He walks with you. He covers you. He goes before you and follows behind you.
You are precious to him and he is delighted by your “yes.” And even if you live your whole entire life with a thick film of fear over your eyes, he won’t think to love you any less.
You have a choice though. Every single day. Faith or fear. How will you respond?