Then the angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:30-33 CSB)
Christmas is about the birth of God’s son. This birth had been planned from the beginning of time, yet it was brand new to Mary in this moment.
Imagine the stress and anxiety. Mary was a godly woman. No doubt she grew up with at least some ambition of faithfully serving God and raising a godly family. But she didn’t imagine it like this. This wasn’t even a category to consider.
God had been writing her story since the beginning of time, weaving people and events together in unbelievable ways. But even though God is a thorough planner, he’s often a spontaneous communicator.
For Mary, serving God required embracing a future she hadn’t planned.
It seems that a lot of Christians are afraid God’s going to ruin their plans. They think God is sitting around waiting to disrupt everything. You want to be a doctor? Keep thinking that… you’re actually headed to the hut in Africa!
In fact, God has a tendency to do this.
- Noah, regardless of what you had planned, you’ll be building an ark now.
- Abraham, leave your homeland. You’ll be living in a new land now.
- Moses, you can’t hide out in the desert anymore. You’ll be leading my people.
- David, enough of the pasture. You’ll be an outlaw for about a decade.
What kind of God would act like this? What kind of God would disrupt people’s lives like this?
A God who is resolutely committed to building a great kingdom with a great king. A God who loves His people too much to let them wander through life with small ambitions.
If God closed every door and led you to do something totally different than you’re planning, would that really be a terrible thing? What kind of God are you following? If your God is a hateful bully or an aloof boss then you’ve got reason to stress. But if your God is a humble servant, a righteous judge, a loving Father… what is there to fear?
God’s invitation to Mary is this— Give up your small ambitions and embrace my Son. Bind your future to His.
That’s God’s invitation to us as well. Are your ambitions big enough for an invitation like this?