She couldn't possibly be the one, this Mary.
Does she have within herself the bravery and courage it requires to sign up for God's greatest assignment given to mere man? I think not.
Not this Mary.
Does she have the strength to stand up against the multitude that will inevitably tear her down for a calling so much grander than their finite minds can comprehend? There's no way.
Not this Mary.
Does she possess within herself the grand spectrum of emotions and grit and wherewithal to raise the Son of God in a world that will reject Him before He even takes His first breath? Will she become the most exposed in the dirtiest of environments as she welcomes a third of the trinity into the world while completely unable to grasp the realness of it all before her eyes? I would never believe it.
Not this Mary.
And why not?
Because the woman that would sign up for this wouldn't look like this Mary.
As I sit and ponder this woman, this incredibly bold, brave, and relentless woman of God, I find myself dumbfounded at the image we have conjured up over the years. Because the Mary I see in my heart is not this Mary.
She is fierce, determined, brave, loyal, committed, strong, wild, and a woman of greater fear and reverence for the Lord than maybe any others before her (or after). Because she didn't just emotionlessly nod her head as an angel came into her room and gave her God's plan of action for setting His great redemption into motion.
Would you have?
There's the holiness of the chosen of God, and there is also the reality that God's chosen ones look, sound, and act a lot like many of us. And this Mary, she doesn't look anything like the bold, brave, reverent women of God that I know. And we have to consider this, don't we? The humanness of Mary. That like so many of us, by the grace and mercy of God she was invited into a life of greater purpose, and in her case, the fullest expression of all of our purposes--to bring the Kingdom of God to earth by bringing forth the very Savior Jesus Christ.
God saw in her what He sees in many of us: longing. To live for Him. To love Him. To worship Him. By all accounts there wasn't much else about Mary other than those things that would cause God to choose her.
But you just never know what God will invite you into when your greatest longing is for Him.
She couldn't possibly be the Mary chosen by God to bring the King of Heaven to earth. Does she have the willingness of Sarah, or the daringness of Rahab? Is she a woman with a strong voice that will speak the Truth of God, like Deborah? Would she risk her life like Jael? What about Esther? Could she possibly find within herself the voice to speak against hatred, potentially costing her her life? Or what about the women after her. Would she have greater belief in God's redemptive work in her than the words of those scorning her for her past, like Mary Magdalene? Maybe that's why Mary Magdalene clung so tightly to this Mother Mary--because they knew what it looked like and felt like to live in the chosenness of God over the shame of a sin-filled people.
This Mary. This virgin.
What a shame to have spent thousands of years allowing one descriptive word paint an entire picture. Clearly there is a difference in understanding for us today than for Mary when she was chosen. Don't we know that the "virgin" used to describe her is the ticket to the miracle of it all, and doesn't, in fact, give us any description at all of who Mary was. Oh what a shame to have missed it all.
It would be like hearing the heroic tale of a young woman today and missing out on her bravery, courage, and strength simply because someone described her as "white" or "black". Depending on who is listening to the tale, a simple descriptive word will rob them blind.
And isn't that what we did to Mary?
I wonder how many years she has questioned why she has been so misunderstood simply because of a word.
I wonder how she would write it if she were given the pen.
I wonder how many of us resemble this beautiful Mary--the one who said yes to the unimaginable just because her God asked.
and I wonder what unimaginable thing God wants to ask us to do, too.
To you, our beautiful and brave Mary. I see so many like you today; wild for their God, running headlong for the prize that is the glory of their Lord and the righteousness of God. I hear the love in their hearts as they sing praises to their God so similar in love and devotion to yours (Luke 1:46-54). I see your bravery in so many of their yeses to God's call to go (Luke 1:38). I see your courage in their hands and hearts as they stand up to oppressors and take in the broken (Luke 1:34-37). I see you, and Sarah, and Rahab, and Deborah, and Jael, and Esther, and Mary Magdalene; I see Anna, and Lydia, and Priscilla. Women with their greatest longing resting in the Lord.
On this Christmas Eve, as I sit in my little home with my little family, pondering the things that tomorrow will bring, and how the birth of Christ changed everything, I am thinking of you. Of the tiresome months you grew Him inside of you. Of the long and weary days you travelled. Of the pains of labor and the fears come to pass as He came regardless of whether you were ready or not. I am taking you in, and all of the parts and pieces of the reality of your life, and how all it took was your absolute love of God to be chosen for this task.
The same God who chose Mary, chose me and chose you.
Oh the wonders of His steadfast, fierce, miraculous love.