Can you believe Thanksgiving is already past? This year is moving so fast. Tomorrow is the first day of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas). Advent means “Coming.” This is the time of year we, the body of Christ, prepare for the coming of Christ. I have a message about Mary of Nazareth I’ll be sharing. She was quite a remarkable woman.
If we met Mary in person we wouldn’t notice anything special about her. She was an ordinary young lady living an ordinary life. She was “betrothed” to a man named Joseph. In those days a betrothal or engagement could last for years as the groom prepares a home for his bride. She didn’t belong to a wealthy family or live in an affluent area. She would have had simple plans to finalize her marriage with Joseph and quietly raise her family.
Then one day this young lady’s life was changed forever. She was visited by the angel Gabriel. Gabriel told her she was “highly favored” and “the Lord was with her.” He went onto say “The Holy Spirit will come on her, and the power of the Most High will overshadow her. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Basically Gabriel told her she would be giving birth to the Messiah!
Let me explain something here: I have no doubt God can impregnate a woman who has never had intimate relations. The God I serve spoke the world we live in into existence. He holds back the tide and spreads the Heavens out above us. This miracle doesn’t surprise me. What surprises me here ... What is really amazing about this story, is Mary’s response.
Mary said “yes.” Just like the old Gospel song says: I’ll say yes, Lord, yes to your will and to your way; I’ll say yes, Lord, yes I will trust you and obey. When your Spirit speaks to me; With my whole heart I’ll agree; And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes. She was accepting a mission that was going to be full of pain and rejection. They stoned woman for adultery in those days! What was her husband to be going to say? What about her family and their reputation? But Mary said “Yes.”
Her response went like this: “I am the Lord’s servant ... May your word to me be fulfilled.” Whatever the Lord wanted Mary was willing. Have you ever wondered if you’re as willing as Mary? It takes a lot of courage to stand for Jesus. It’s not popular. God calls us to extraordinary things, but not things people in the world understand.
Mary’s world didn’t understand what was going on and it was a difficult walk for her, but it didn’t stop this young lady from following God. I hope each of us find the courage in our hearts this Advent season to trust and obey. Say yes to God and see what he can accomplish through you. If we all follow God, like Mary did, what great changes we could do to the world around us.
Captain Mark Cyr is pastor of The Salvation Army, 661 Colorado St. Carson City, NV 89701. For information go to carsoncity.salvationarmy.org.
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