Read Luke 1: 46-50
Mary had every right to be scared.
She was young, betrothed, and now told she was pregnant. And to top it all off, the news was delivered by an angel. You know, spiritual beings that tend to terrify people.
As Mary processed the news, we can only imagine what was going through her head. Would her family disown her? Would people in town make assumptions and gossip? Would Joseph believe any of this? Would she be rejected? Disparage? Or Worse?
But the thought Mary chose to settle on wasn’t one of fear but of faith: “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38). Later on, when Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, the latter says of Mary: “you are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said” (v. 45)
It would be nice to say that our typica; response to fear is always Mary’s response: a song of praise and hopeful expectation. But let’s be real. Fear creeps into our minds and souls like the slow roll of a dark cloud before a storm. How do you respond? Retreat? Isolate? Hold your fear close to your chest and spiral into endless “What ifs”? (I’m guilty of that one fo sho)
Let’s look at Mary’s response. After Mary visited Elizabeth, she turned her attention to God in a song known as the Magnificat (which means “my soul glorifies the Lord”). There are a few things in this song that are helpful as you seek to ground yourself in hope when fear swirls around:
Mary began with praise. The whole song is about singing God’s glory, and though Mary probably had so many questions about what it meant to give birth to the Savior of the world, she opened with rejoicing instead of concern.
Mary remembered her part in God’s story. In verse 48, Mary said: “For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed.” Mary knew that God was in control; He was the one who created and empowered her. She was His creation, and that reminder allowed Mary to focus on the truth of who she was and who He is. She was reminded that her part of the story was not the end of the story.
Mary Remembered God;s goodness and justice. Mary didn’t just reflect on the blessings God bestowed or the promises He made to Israel; she reflected on how God would also set wrong things back to right (vv. 51-53)
Mary dispelled fear with praise. She put aside insecurity with the truth of who God was, remembering her role in His story. And she looked past concerns of rejection or Gossip, recalling that she served a God of justice.
And because of that, Mary could hope. And so can you.
Thoughts from Heidi:
So in this time of Covid and the continued unsureness and fears of how long will this craziness last, will the vaccine work and how long will it take to distribute, and when will things “get back to normal”; we can look to Mary and how she responded to fear. We can use her response of praise and hope to help calm our fears and worry. Use her reflections of being a blessing to help us discern what blessings have been bestowed on us during this pandemic and how we can use ourselves to be a blessing to others who may need help to see and feel the blessings that God still provides during these trying times. We can continue to have hope that God will set things in this world right and that whatever lessons and outcomes from this global pandemic can be used as a blessing and forever change this world ultimately for the better.
When have you felt overwhelmed by far? How did you respond?
What emotions do you think Mary felt when the angel delivered the news?
How can Mary’s response to God’s news encourage you this Christmas?