She lived a simple life. She wasn’t flamboyant; she wasn’t boisterous. She loved a good man, and their modest plans for a life together filled her waking moments. She had a happy past, a joyful present and a bright future.
And then her life was turned upside down.
We all know the story of Mary and the miraculous birth of Jesus. We have marveled at the wonder that she must have felt on that day when Jesus was born, looking down at her newborn son Who was also the Eternal Creator. We ponder on her song of praise and the angel’s salutation – blessed art thou among women.
Have you ever thought about how much Mary must have been out of her comfort zone? I recently was thinking about Mary and how she responded to her plans and expectations being turned upside down. When the angel came and announced that she was to bear the Son of God, it changed the rest of her life. This was not just a nine-month commitment. This was not just a twenty-year commitment. This was a lifelong alteration of her course. No doubt she did not know all of that when she agreed, but she must have had an inkling of the change she was in for.
She did not ask for this blessing. Think of how different her life was after this ‘blessing’ came to her. She was shunned, for the rest of her life, and even more, ridiculed because she continued to tell such a preposterous story that few believed. Did her parents even accept it? Regardless, when it came time to deliver her baby, she did not have her mother there to help her…she did not have familiar surroundings…she did not have any comforts to aid in her time of travail.
For the rest of her life, the circumstances surrounding her son’s birth were the things that every person judged her by. From that moment on, her life was different. Changed. But was she really blessed? Oh, yes. She was favored by God, she was blessed, and her life was never the same.
What would have happened had she refused? If instead of saying to the angel, “Be it unto me according to thy word,” how different could the story have been if she said, “No, I don’t want this”? Can you imagine saying no to an angel? But how often do we say no to God? “No, God, I don’t want this alteration in my life. I want to continue on my planned course of happiness and stability.”
Personalities differ, and everyone likes change to a different degree. But even those who say they embrace and love change are remiss in always accepting from God’s hand the changes to life He brings.
Have you ever had your plans changed? Have you ever laid out a path before you…a modest, simple path, but a path of happiness and free from worry. Have you ever had it upset?
We little realize the profound impact that the small decisions have. A small decision for Mary – to say yes or no, to agree or disagree – would change the course of her life. Yes, we can say she was blessed, she was favored of God, but the facts still stand that the way was not always easy. Blessing did not mean a life free from worry or care. But blessing did mean doing the thing that God wanted her to do.