“But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with the Lord. You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus…for nothing is impossible with God”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:30, 31, 37-38
We have had a lovely fall here in eastern Iowa. One morning not long ago I got up and it was fifty nine degrees; at noon the winds of change began to blow and the temperature dropped. By five that afternoon it was thirty degrees colder and that was all she wrote, like it or not change had come.
Living most of my life on a farm I have come to appreciate that wind usually means change. East wind means precipitation. North wind cold, southerly warm. Dogs eating grass means rain, oops, that has nothing to do with wind, but is true. Winds usually precede change. Winds can mean a good drying out, damaging winds or tornadoes; hope or chaos depending upon the view from where we sit. There is nothing more certain than change, except death and taxes I suppose. Yes, the winds of change are unpredictable, unavoidable and can be either exciting, scary and happen quickly and unexpectedly; other times slowly and gradually.
Like it or not our text announces the biggest change the world has ever known, so big that we divide time by it and the world has never been the same since. For good reason, it is not everyday that God Himself decides to invade our world.
The angel Gabriel appears to an obscure young woman (more like a scared teen) and announces to her that she will become pregnant out of wedlock when the Holy Spirit comes upon her. In today’s world this is no big deal, a recent change in thinking I may add, but in Mary’s time it’s a bad situation and would have qualified her to be stoned to death! But here’s the deal, this pregnancy is no ordinary unplanned pregnancy, it is miraculous! In verse 26 we are told that God sent one of his top angels (angels are messengers by the way) Gabriel to give Mary the good news. She must have been one special gal to have been hand picked by God to carry His seed in human form. And we can tell by her response. Once she is put at ease in the angel’s presence she pretty much says, “Let’s go! If this is God’s idea I am all in!” And then, she praises God for what He is about to do through her. This blows my mind, because I would have never responded this way if that news had come to me, I am sad to say! My self absorbed self would have responded something like this: “WHAT! Why me? What will my parents say? What will my neighbors say? I could be stoned to death! What will my fiancé Joseph think? But not this faithful little gal, gale force winds of mighty change are about to blow into her life and she says “let’s roll”, trusts and obeys. And that is why God chose her and not me! Thank goodness, because her obedient decision affected the entire world F O R E V E R!
I have had hard winds of change blow into my life and all too many times instead of trusting and obeying the fact that God chose me as a possible change agent in His world, I whined and moaned and grudgingly fought it. I have to ask myself, what have I missed out on by wanting to take the easier way out? In what ways have my selfish choices to fight change affected not only me but others? Mary’s choice was simple, but not easy.
Those of us who have heard this story year after year too often take it for granted or worse, think it a quaint little story that may or may not be true. But I have come to believe that there is only one person that could have told this story to the author Matthew, and that is the key eyewitness of the story, Mary herself! Who else would have had the details she shares with us? The end result were the miracles Jesus performed and salvation for billions of folks like me and you that she never knew because she had the courage to walk through the winds of change that blew into her life one night in her quiet bedroom in Nazareth in Galilee.
The winds of change can bring hope or chaos depending upon the view from where we sit if we choose to recognize the signs. Mary recognized the signs because she was alert and watching. She knew where her hope and trust lie and it wasn’t in her own human ability, but in God. As the angel told her, “With God nothing is impossible.”
Change is exciting, scary, unexpected and long awaited.
What winds of change are blowing your way? Trust and obey.
Emmanuel, God with us.
Reason for the season.
Be joy filled always,