The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Can we even begin to imagine what Mary felt as she heard this news?
It is really hard for me to imagine because my initial thoughts are influenced by the fact that I know how the story ends; Mary gives birth to the Son of God who accomplished God’s purpose, rose from the dead and rules the universe as King of kings and Lord of lords… but bear in mind that Mary knows none of this, for it hasn’t happened yet.
At this point, Mary in all likelihood is a very young girl, maybe 13 or so. She is engaged to Joseph and awaiting her marriage. For her to turn up pregnant is a social catastrophe! Joseph will probably dump her, and everyone will know why. She’ll never be able to marry because of her checkered past and as a result she will spend her life alone, with a kid, a social outcast and destitute… or she could be considered an adulteress and be put to death!
Now to be perfectly candid here, considering that young ladies in this age group aren’t usually famous for their selflessness, wouldn’t we expect Mary to go ballistic? Wouldn’t we expect a drama-party to go on for months? Mary, it would seem, is a very unusual young lady!
Mary’s response to this news is heroic and nothing less than inspiring: She accepts it saying, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Do we have that kind of faith? Are we so ready to accept God’s call even if it means social disgrace?
OK, fine, I’ll admit that I haven’t been visited recently by the angel of God with an assignment, so maybe that makes it a little bit easier… Still, this news that the angel has given to Mary was entirely life-changing, and at least at first blush it wouldn’t be an easy road. “May it be to me as you have said.”
I can only hope and pray that should I ever be faced with such an assignment from God that my reaction would be half as faithful as that of Mary. What am amazing example for every one of us.