December 9 “Making Room For Faithfulness In Hiddenness”
The incarnation is probably the most fantastic promise ever given or received by anyone in all of human history, that the Eternal God, who has no beginning would come and begin to grow as a baby boy. The Infinite God would come in his fullness and take up residence inside a finite, meek and tender teenage girl. What must have been going on in her heart and mind? Shouldn’t God have picked someone with a little more experience? Didn’t God realize that his son would be seen as the illegitimate son born out of wedlock and potently be an outcast of society? But Mary did not ask any of these questions. At least not outwardly, not at first.
Just a few verses prior, we read the account of the Priest Zechariah who could not believe the angel’s promise that he and Elizabeth would have a son. “How shall I know this?” was his doubtful response to the angel. Because of this, he was mute until the day John was named. Contrast this with the girl Mary’s response, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” This is not a response of doubt but of honest curiosity. It’s amazing the tenderness and compassionate nature of the Father with his daughter here. He actually lets her in on the inner workings of the most amazing mystery of all of creation. The mystery which angels and theologians have longed to peer into was told to a little girl with no qualifications and little education. Her heart, contrasted with that of Zechariahs, was one that believed that nothing was impossible for God. As the Prophet Jeremiah declared “Behold, I am the Lord…Is anything too hard for me?”
Mary was receptive and open. She had cul vated a childlike faith and fear of the Lord in the hiddenness of her life as a woman in a rst century, Middle Eastern, male-dominated society. She was nobody by societal standards. But she had made room for God. “For to the one who has, more will be given”. She had nothing, but this one thing: a heart prepared to receive her King. Mary was just an ordinary teenage Jewish girl in 1st century Israel engaged to a carpenter named Joseph. Yet her heart response to God in hiddenness and obscurity is why all generations now call her blessed. “And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’”
1. Meditate on the contrast of Mary’s heart response versus that of Zechariahs. What was it about Mary’s posture of heart that caused her response to be so different?
2. Is there room in your life for God to cultivate something in a hidden place, in a space that seems ordinary or mundane? Advent is extraordinary because God uses ordinary things, ordinary people, and ordinary situations to do extraordinary things.