ADVENT MEDITATIONS No.10
10. Can it be?
Lk 1:34-38 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
Mary has a question. It’s like she senses that the angel doesn’t mean in the future once she is married; he seems to mean now, and now has difficulties. Now she hasn’t had any sexual relations with Joseph, now she’s not married. There is a small problem about this: surely you need a man to be involved?
Some of us who have been Christians a long time, are really too spiritual for our own good! We know the theory of all this, we’ve heard the story so many times, but it stays at a distance when it comes to applying it to our own lives. It’s so easy to read the verses above and think, “Oh, isn’t that nice, isn’t that wonderful!” The trouble is that it still stays in the realm of the impossible as far as our own lives are concerned. That would never happen to me, I’m never going to be called to accept something like this! Really?
You see Christianity is, as we’ve said previously, all about life change. Later on after Jesus had been born, after he had grown up and was now teaching people and performing miracles (and the two went together with him), he said to a leader called Nicodemus, “You must be born again” (Jn 3:7). Now as Nicodemus acknowledged that was a human impossibility, but when we come humbly to God, confessing our need of His love and forgiveness, He comes and transforms us by the power of His own Holy Spirit. What we couldn’t do, He does! As the angel said to Mary, “Nothing is impossible with God”.
But this isn’t just a life change when we are ‘born again’, it is an ongoing life change, the New Testament teaches us. For some of us, these life changes are as dramatic as the life change being put before Mary. God’s purpose for Mary was to bring His own Son into the world through her body. God’s purpose for you and me is exactly the same! Yes it is! It’s not to bring a baby out of your body, but it is to bring Jesus into the world through you. That is His ultimate purpose. We’re told that in the New Testament: “we…are being transformed into his (Jesus’) likeness” (2 Cor 3:18. See also Eph 3:16-19)
Yes, amazing isn’t it. Mary was called to become a vessel to bring the Son of God into being on the earth. Today God calls us into relationship with Him, so that we may be called ‘children of God’ (Jn 1:12,13), sons of God (Gal 3:26), being changed into Jesus’ likeness (Rom 8:29, 1 Cor 15:49). That is God’s wonderful ultimate goal for you – for you to enter into this life-long, life-changing process. Now look at Mary’s response. She may not understand how this can be but she responds, “May it be to me as you have said.”
There’s a lot more to come in this Christmas story but here is the challenge from the Lord: will you respond to Him in the same way, willing to let Him bring this staggering life change we’ve been talking about? Can it be? May it be!