Despite our best intentions to make this holiday less stressful, less complicated, and more joy-filled, sometimes we fall back into that oh, so familiar rhythm of rush. Those handmade gifts that you pinned like a boss because this was going to be the year that you set your inner Martha Stewart free… well, that Black Friday sale was just easier.
You’re checking things off your list left and right. Teacher gifts are done. You have the perfect outfit for your virtual office Christmas party. Your pantry is stocked with all the supplies for Christmas baking, although you can’t really gift your normal holiday treats… well, because COVID. Doesn’t matter, though. You and your family are still going to do all that holiday baking and watch every new movie in the Hallmark Christmas movie lineup. You’re no quitter.
Well, friend… pause with me for a minute.
Take a deep breath and close your eyes (but then open them again, because you need to “hear” this).
Imagine just a moment what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph all those years ago. Heavily pregnant… on the road for what must have felt like forever… and literally every rentable room was taken. She must have been terrified as she felt the pangs of labor. How worried must she have been to lay with the animals, laboring to bring her son into this world?
Imagine the sounds they heard, Baby Jesus’ coos mingling with the animals and the soft symphony of night. No Christmas music and no rush to purchase last-minute gifts. They simply marveled in the beauty of their newborn son, which the Angel Gabriel told Mary she was to name “Jesus.”
“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:30-33 NLT)
Even though she was afraid, Mary responded with, “I am the Lord’s servant.”
Simple as that… I am the Lord’s servant.
Even though she may have felt vastly unqualified and unprepared, Mary said yes when the Lord called upon her to serve. She wasn’t distracted by Cyber Monday sales, Christmas lights, and a calendar full of meetings and festivities.
Yes, these are much different times, but we can learn much from Mary’s simplicity, her ability to be still, to listen, and to answer God when he asked her to serve.
When God calls to you, how will you respond?