Dec. 1, 2011
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
Mary was probably 12-15 years-old when the angel Gabriel visited her. Imagine being a teenager and finding out that you’re pregnant out of wedlock. Would your response be, “I’m the Lord’s servant. May it be to me according to your word?” I’m thinking I would have had other choice words first.
A virgin conceiving is nothing short of a miracle. How could Mary ever explain this to her parents and to her finance, Joseph? “The Holy Spirit made it happen” just doesn’t seem viable, even though it really was the truth.
What do you think of when someone mentions “miracle” to you? We often think of a unbelievable healing, a person on TV and we roll our eyes. Unless we hear about the miracle first hand or from a very, very reliable source, we probably don’t buy into it.
But this is an amazing point of Mary’s story: she believed this miracle would happen to her. She accepted the miracle, hook, line and sinker. Was she gulable? We’d like to think there was more bantering between Mary and Gabriel before Mary accepted the news she’d been told. One minute, she was an ordinary Jewish teenager. The next day, she’s leaving for her relative Elizabeth’s house, waiting to see if her belly will grow in due time. And it did. With the Son of God inside.
While the virgin conception is a knock-it-out-of the ballpark miracle, I think we often fail to see that garden variety miracles that regularly happen in our lives. Yesterday, my e-mail account was hacked by someone. If you received an inappropriate e-mail from me, sorry! I’ve had this e-mail account for over 13 years. It’s the only e-mail account I’ve ever had. I think it’s a miracle that it hadn’t been hacked into before now. The birth of a baby is always a miracle. A paycheck automatically turning up in your checking account can be a miracle!
Miracles often require a miracle worker. As Christians, we may attribute God or Jesus as the miracle worker. When a person goes into remission. Money arriving at just the right time. The long awaited baby becomes available through adoption. God also needs miracle workers “assistants” – people who heed the inkling of the Holy Spirit. A timely phone call. Sharing just the right item. A non-hurried cup of coffee with someone who needs a listener.
I’m aware that no miracle in my life will ever be close to the miracle in Mary’s life. Actually, I think there were two miracles when Gabriel came to Mary. The first was the immaculate conception. The second is Mary’s response: “Sign me up. I’ll do whatever it takes.”
There are miracles just waiting to happen all around us. God needs more “assistants” to allow these miracles to happen. Can you, will you say, “Sign me up. I’ll do whatever it takes?”
A great way for us to respond to Mary’s story is to intentionally assist God with miracle production this Advent. We can’t necessarily “make” the miracle happen, but we can be inspired by the Holy Spirit to ease miracles along. But first, we need an attitude which says we’re willing to be signed up and willing to do whatever it takes to be God’s assistants. Without us, potential miracles may never get enacted.
Can you find a miracle this week that you can help orchestrate? And every week (better yet, every day!) throughout Advent? Yep, it would be great if a miracle worker came into our lives and helped us. But then again, Advent isn’t about receiving. God set the protical when God gave. When we allow ourselves to be miracle assistants, it allows for great joy to be released in our lives. We determine whether or not to be the Lord’s servants. My prayer is that lots and lots of miracles will happen this Advent because we were willing to be signed up.