I probably don’t have to remind you, but Christmas is fast approaching. Indeed, I only had to go into one shop today to find Christmassy things on display. And there was nothing very religious about any of it—it was all related to the pagan celebration.
However, as I thought about that, my mind turned to the story of Mary. Because put yourself in Mary’s shoes for a moment. She was probably a girl of about twelve or thirteen and engaged to be married—all quite normal for those days. But all of a sudden, she was confronted by an angel who told her that God needed her to do something.
Now Mary was evidently deeply religious, and the mere presence of an angel made her fearful. But when she told that she would have a baby, and that her fiancé was not to be the father … Well, you can imagine how she would have felt. It would have gone against the grain of everything that was socially and legally acceptable—let alone what she was brought up to believe. But this was God who was making the request—and the conception was not going to be through normal means.
Even so, that doesn’t mean she would have been totally happy with what she had been asked to do. But she trusted God, and she agreed to do what she was asked. And, indeed, in time she learnt to appreciate the magnitude of what she had done. And we may all be relieved that it was Mary who was asked to do something outside her comfort zone, not us.
But Mary’s response, does rather raise the issue: if God were to ask us to do something radically different, how would we respond? What would we do if God said to us, “I know your customs. I know the things you’re comfortable with, but I want you to do something that you’re totally uncomfortable with—something that goes against the grain of everything you’ve been brought up to believe”?
Now would we say, “No! We’ve never done things that way before; it’s not the way we do things”? Or would we, like Mary, trust God. Because although we may not feel totally comfortable, we know that we need to trust God, anyway.
Posted: 2nd November 2018
© 2018, Brian A Curtis