Seems like lately, I’ve been saying ‘no’ to a lot of things. Not just ‘no’ to Bad Stuff (though that is, of course, always a wise course of action!), but also ‘no’ to many Good Things. Concerts, after-school activities, seemingly innocuous ways to spend just a few more dollars…I struggle to know how best to invest our life as a family among so many choices and options.
‘No,’ of course, doesn’t have much motivating force on its own. So the more important question becomes, “To what am I saying ‘YES’?” Or, perhaps more to the point, “To whom am I saying ‘YES’?”
Mary, the earthly mother of Jesus, lived an incredible life of ‘YES.’ Do you remember her response when the angel told her she would give birth to the Messiah?
“I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
(Luke 1.38, NIV)
(Luke 1.38, NIV)
This profoundly deep ‘YES’ would result in many difficult ‘no’s.’ ‘No’ to social acceptance, instead being branded with the lifetime stigma of an illegitimate pregnancy. ‘No’ to a stable living situation, instead experiencing childbirth far from the support networks of home and, later, fleeing as a refugee to a foreign country. ‘No’ to any semblance of safety, ultimately bearing eyewitness to her son’s execution.
Surely this was not an easy course for Mary. So how was she sustained, how did she stay motivated, when her ‘YES’ seemed to result in so many heartbreaking ‘no’s’?
What strikes me is that Mary’s ‘YES’ was, more than anything else, a ‘YES’ to God’s heart. She wasn’t privy to a detailed plan of Who, What, When, Where and Why. She wasn’t promised exemption from hard times or suffering. She was simply called to trust God’s heart…to which she said ‘YES.’
What is most incredible to me is that Mary’s ‘YES’ became a means by which God’s ‘YES’ to us would be revealed.
God’s ‘YES’ – He loves us.
God’s ‘YES’ – He is with us.
God’s ‘YES’ – He will save and redeem us.
This, in a nutshell, is the promise of Christmas. God says ‘YES’ to us. And because God says ‘YES’ to us, we can say ‘YES’ to Him.
And so I pray that I would lean deeper into a life of ‘YES.’ ‘YES’ to God’s heart. ‘YES’ to God’s ways. ‘YES’ to God’s ‘YES.’
In the words of Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
A deeper Yes. May it be so.