DO YOU BELIEVE IN (CHRISTMAS) MIRACLES?
Part 4: The Incarnation
And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Luke 1: 30-33
Just imagine for a second if you were in Mary’s shoes: one seemingly ordinary day, a fiercely glorious heavenly angelic being appears to you declaring that you’d be the mother of God-incarnate, knowing full-well that you are a virgin, that you are about to be betrothed to Joseph, a carpenter, and that you don’t have all the means of taking caring of a child just yet—let alone the Son of God. How would you feel?
To add a little nuance to this situation, let us consider this: Mary was just another middle-eastern Jewish teenage girl who had been given unto Joseph for marriage (as was the custom of the day) and she probably was depending on him to be her support. Mary did not come from an elite class of Jewish high society nor was she anyone especially “holy”, “good”, “beautiful”, or “sinless” as what popular culture or unbiblical religion has made her out to be.
To be made pregnant whilst still a virgin and to conceive a child without being married yet to Joseph would probably mean that she would be deemed as an adulterer which would give Joseph legitimate grounds on divorcing her (Matthew 1:19).
It would be the modern equivalent of a teenage pregnancy nowadays in which there is much shame placed on the girl who got pregnant whilst the guy doesn’t take responsibility for the act. The girl’s life would be considered “over” since she now has to take care of her baby and with that, the loss of opportunity for a career and a good future ahead.
This is what Mary had on her plate (or rather, in her womb). Of all the people in ancient Israel, why her?
We certainly feel the same way in times of despair when we do not know what has come upon us. Situations confuse us and problems confound us. Our challenges become all the more complex when we are hit with the reality of an impossible situation and we get stuck. We lose our ability in grasping a possible solution and get wound up in a hopeless attitude.
Mary, with everything going against her, responds differently.
She asks the Angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34). The Angel then replied to her in verse 35:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.
She knew that what God had allowed to come upon her life was no mere incident. It was purposefully planned and carried out by God for a far greater cause than she could imagine. All that Mary saw in front of her were the problems surrounding her soon-to-be pregnancy and yet, God has already seen all.
God already knew that He would send forth His Son as the redeemer and savior of the world. He already foreordained that the Messiah would come through the lineage of David, as far as Mary and Joseph were concerned (Her genealogy in Luke 3:23-38, His genealogy in Matthew 1), they were uniquely situated having Davidic descent.
Knowing all things, God already foreordained that at the perfect time, “The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:9). He already anticipated when the Word, who is God and was with God, would come into the world to save it (John 1:1).
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” –John 1:14
Perhaps, in the midst of all the pain and trouble that Mary had to endure in her unforeseen pregnancy, she realized that it was all under God’s control. What’s more is that she was actually conceiving GOD IN THE FLESH! She fathomed the bursting mysteries of having the fullness of God moving about in her womb. She marveled at the thought of this life in her body, which was to be the Life of mankind for those who would believe in the Son.
Mary, out of her obedience, trusted God by faith. She was chosen by God and shown favor (the same word used for grace) not because of anything particularly good, divine, or saintly that she had done, but because she entrusted herself unto the plan and purposes of God Almighty.
Her sacrifice led to the long-awaited Word, Christ Jesus, to dwell (or more closely, “to tabernacle” or to reside) among His people, as God was present in the tabernacle in the wilderness among the Israelites. Indeed the miracle of the Incarnation happened unto Mary and she knew that there was now a steadfast hope for humanity that was conceived in her—Jesus.
“For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
In the same way that Mary had a troubling situation in her life where there is much temptation to despair, would you respond in the same way of faith and trust? Look at Mary’s responsive song of praise in Luke 1:46-55 and reflect on the words of adoration she used unto God.
Consider how God made the impossible to be possible just to bring about the salvation of mankind through Christ. Do you think that God would do miracles in your own life in the hopes of bringing forth His purposes even when your circumstances display a bleak and seemingly impossible problem to solve?
Problems, challenges, struggles, and setbacks are but an opportunity to know that God is always intimately working on the details of our lives even when we don’t see His hand or feel His presence. We can rediscover that life is still under His control and that He wants you to trust in Him fully.
“Dear Lord, I know that even when things seem to fall apart, You are still in control. You work all things for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose (Romans 8:28). So, with everything happening in my life right now, I entrust everything and anything to you.
Do with it as You will, do with me as You will.
My life is not mine to wield but Yours to take. You are the God of Miracles, oh Lord, and you certainly still do the unimaginable. I trust that you would fulfill all that you have for my life and I eagerly await Your hand. Nothing is indeed impossible with you God. Amen.”
To continue this devotional series, please see Part 5: The Struggle Of Christmas Is Real: The Epiphany