Monday, December 6, 2010

pondering christmas and peace

"I am the Lord's servant." Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." 
                                                                                                           Luke 1:38

we were treated to a great sermon yesterday at church.  well, i tend to enjoy all of our pastor's messages but yesterday's was especially poignant.  this was my take on it...

mary was a virgin when Jesus was conceived in her.  not only was she a virgin but she was probably just a young woman, perhaps the age of 14 or 15.  merely a girl.  now when you really stop to think about, i mean really, really think about it... isn't it amazing?  and what on earth, do you think SHE was thinking about it all?  i know when i was that age i could have never in my wildest dreams have handled something like this.  how selfish i was... self consuming, melodramatic, all things teenagers are in junior high.  she was just a teenager too.  i bet she was scared.  i bet she was freaking out... but she acted much more wise beyond her years.  look at her response in luke 1:38 -- "may it be to me as you have said!"  that is how she responded to the angel gabriel when he told her about the plan.  can you even imagine?  now, i know, for a fact that this didn't mean she wasn't still scared about the future.  the key here is to see how she had peace, amidst these circumstances.  was it through information?  certainly not.  mary didn't get a whole lot of information.  nothing about how the general public will react to this "virgin's pregnancy", how her parents will feel, my goodness... how joseph would feel!  she doesn't get any information about how it will affect her life at all.  she also doesn't get any peace in the knowledge of who she was.  i think that would have just made her even more nervous.  a young girl... with limitations, weaknesses.  that would have surely pointed her towards despair.  the key to mary's peace, and in turn, the key to ALL of our peace, is knowing WHOSE we are.  we are God's children.  knowing we belong to God brings peace that transcends ALL understanding (philipians 4:7).  this doesn't mean that life is gonna be easy.  no, we will face challenges, heartache, suffering, pain, calamity.  but peace comes when we push past these issues and remember that throughout it all, the Lord is always by our side.  we don't have to worry about 'what's to come'.  we can take comfort in the cradle of the cross for God is doing what needs to be done so that we can recognize Him.  how powerful is that?  peace isn't about looking at everything through rose coloured lenses.  it's not this picture of quiet reflection and perfect scenery all around.  peace is being sheltered in the storm and feeling completely safe in the middle of it.  someone once said, "safety consists not in absence of danger but in the presence of God".  real peace... tangible peace comes in belonging to God.  and just like mary whatever attention we get, be it a lost job, terminal illness, loneliness, separation from a loved one, infertility, depression, failing relationships, death of someone we're close to, we should find peace in belonging to Him.

let's bring it back to mary.  i'm pretty sure, actually i know that she didn't understand this whole situation until years later.  she was scared, probably feeling quite like life was ending but she did something that we can all learn a lesson from.  she gave up her desire to know the "answer" and just rested in the knowledge that she was in the arms of God.  that was the only way she was going to feel comforted by the situation.  she was just an ordinary girl but she was being used for extraordinary purposes.  anyone can be used by God.  and God can use any circumstance to draw us nearer to Him.  and in that drawing near, we will find peace if we recognize that we belong to Him.

"you will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you."
                                                                                                                              Isaiah 26:3

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