As we wind down the Christmas season and prepare for the New Year, I wish to share what I have been meditating on for the past week and how it has helped me confront my fear. Each year God reveals something new to me from the Christmas story and this year, these two verses really struck my heart.
28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
We must first realize that the angel who was sent by God only spoke to Mary after “having come in.” This is important because Mary did not receive word of her calling and promise outside of God’s presence! Many times we expend so much energy on figuring out our purpose but we don’t seek to find it in the presence of the one who created us and gave us purpose to begin with.
Before the angel told Mary of her purpose, he initiated his declaration with joy and rejoicing. It was an invitation for her to rejoice and see this message as one of favor and blessing.
xaritóō (from 5486 /xárisma, “grace,” see there) – properly, highly-favored because receptive to God’s grace.HELPS Word-Studies
The call that the angel brought to Mary; to give birth to the Savior of the world, was one that was given in grace and conferred for benefit. This teaches us that any call on our lives can only be given through grace! It is not because we are worthy but because He is good. He chooses to use us even with our flaws and imperfections for his glory. Also, any purpose that we have be given is meant to be beneficial, not just for ourselves but for those around us. It is meant to change the environment around us for the better.
29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
Mary’s response to God’s declaration of favor and blessing over her life was one of turmoil and worry. I CAN RELATE. How many times are we favored with talents and gifts and opportunities but our initial response is one of worry and inner turmoil: Can I do this? Am I good enough? What would people think?
Amidst the inner turmoil, when Mary asked how it would be possible that she would carry the Son of God, the angel reassured her with a truth that should dwell in the hearts of us all: There is nothing that God will ever entrust us to do without his help.
35 “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you"
I realized that any purpose requires a submission to something bigger than ourselves. It requires the ability to look beyond fear and worry and doubt and find joy in the grace and blessing that comes with purpose. It is never easy but as the Christmas story proves, it is so worth it.