Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What If?

What if Mary, Jesus' mother, wasn't like we've always pictured her to be?

What if she was still a chunky teenage girl who hadn't yet lost her baby fat and was accustomed to the torments of girls her age? Perhaps then, that was, in part, why God chose her. She'd handled ridicule well, and there was bound to be even more as an unwed pregnant girl in that culture. Furthermore, her name means "bitter." Living life with that moniker might have made her one tough broad. She may have had a strength of character that surpassed her youth.

What if she was less "cheerleader" and more "softball catcher"? Her dad and mom may have been thick, stocky people and mom may have been a fantastic cook, too!

What if she wasn't blue-eyed? Few Jewish girls are.

What if she would never have been chosen Homecoming Queen? She may not have been incredibly attractive. Her Son certainly had nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him (Isaiah 53:2).

What if she wasn't a sweet, demure, acquiescent child but a robust, confident, stubborn young woman with deep convictions?

So often, when we hear her name, we picture a pansy-like demeanor subtly accepting "the will of God." But look again at Luke 1:26-38: she's a thinking person. She wants a logical answer for how in the world she's going to have a baby, and isn't afraid to ask. Furthermore, what if there's an unrecorded pause between verses 37 and 38 where she has to consider all the implications and decide to trust an unseen God before she says, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." And I love the fact that she fully recognizes this is being done to her. She's not naive and assumes it will all work out with no complications or difficulties. She understands this will have a profound effect on every aspect of her life as it stands right now.

What if she was shoveling manure in the barn when the angel came to her? Let's face it, we usually picture her stirring a pot over an open flame, feeding a lamb or darning socks. Women in that culture had to do the dirty chores, too.

Were any of these "what ifs" true, they wouldn't change the fact that above all else, Mary is obedient, and humbly recognizes her place as servant of the Most High God. Confident or insecure, lovely or unattractive, shy or gregarious, she willingly gave all she was to all that God needed her to be. No reservations, no holds barred, for better or worse.

God, some days I fail so miserably at giving all of myself to you, but for this moment, know that all I am deeply desires to be your obedient servant today.

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