Do you desire God more than anything this Christmas season?
More than your work? More than your reputation? More than giving or receiving the perfect gift
or ensuring you send out all your holiday greeting e-mails or cards? More than ___________?
How can you know? One way you can know if you desire God more than anything this Christmas is to measure yourself next to Mary’s desire for God as reflected in her prayer:
“I am the Lord’s servant…may it be to me as you have said.” (Lk. 1:38 – NIV)
She humbly prayed this prayer in response to receiving the news that she would be the bearer and deliverer of the Messiah.
Woven between the lines of these words we catch a pure and powerful DESIRE FOR GOD as she expresses her availability to be used by God, her agreeability to work with His plan, and her anticipation of His work for the future.
Am I Available to God?
In essence, Mary prayed a prayer like the prophet Isaiah, who was one of the lead voices to predict that the Messiah would come some 700 years earlier when he prayed, “Here I am send me, use me.”
It’s a prayer that reflects a surrendered and obedient heart. It’s a prayer that acknowledges that we are owned, servants of the Master:
“As the eyes of the slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid looks to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God…” (Psalm 123:2 – NIV)
Am I Agreeable to His Work and Will?
“Be it unto me as you have said,” is the way Mary’s prayer is translated in another version. These words transition availability (a willingness expressed) into action (a will that follows through). I submit my will to conform to Your will and Your work, Oh God, regardless of the cost.
Mary’s agreeablity did cost her something, as reflected in the following words.
Most scholars agree that Mary was still a teenager when she received this life-changing news. If you’ve ever had teenagers of your own, or have been around them for any length of time, you know that these fledgling adults can say and do some of the cruelest things.
I can only imagine the humiliation that Mary must have endured from her peers as her pregnancy started to show: the name calling, the taunting, the whispering and gossip.
2. Repudiation and Reprimand
Can you begin to fathom what it must have been like for her to be soaring with joy, elated at the news she had been given by an angel, but then having to break the news to her parents?
“Mom, Dad, I’m pregnant!” After gasps of disbelief, torrents of internal, swirling emotions, and either shouts of condemnation, or soft words of expressed disappointment, her parents finally respond, “Who’s the father?”
“Uh… I know you’re not going to believe me, but the Holy Spirit of God is the Father.” If there were ever a cause for a teenager to be grounded for life, I’m sure that Mary’s mom and dad (based on their perspective) would have felt justified in issuing such a sentence.
One of the things teenagers fear the most, whether they will admit or not, is rejection.
In expressing her availability and agreeability to God to be the mother of Jesus, she risked not only losing her reputation with her peers and the repudiation of her parents and other onlookers, but also the possible rejection of the young man she loved and was engaged to: Joseph.
By God’s grace, He also appeared to Joseph. God let Joseph in on His plan, and He invited Joseph to be a part of the amazing work of redemption He was preparing. To his credit, Joseph also desired God more than anything else.
Am I Anticipating the Unfolding of His Work for the Future?
Though Mary’s response to God’s call on her life did cost her a great deal, it also gave her untold blessings, including the blessing of anticipating how God was going to use her in the future.
“My soul glorifies the Lord…
from now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me–
Holy is His name”
Plan some time to prayerfully measure how much you are Desiring God this Christmas season:
Consider capturing the following three questions in a journal or electronic file. Then ask God to draw you to the insights and applications He may want you to gain as you record your responses.
1. Am I available to God?
2. Am I being agreeable to His work and what He desires to accomplish in/through my life?
3. Am I anticipating the unfolding of His work in the future?
Try praying the following “Mary” prayer daily until Christmas
Like Mary, I’m facing circumstances I can’t handle alone. Please keep me mindful that I, like Mary, am your servant. I’m called to follow you in spite of my limited understanding. I’m called to obey you in spite of anticipated outcomes. I choose to believe that you are able and willing to sustain me through the unknown. “May it be to me according to your Word.”