I was listening to Handel's Messiah earlier this morning, just me in the early morning darkness with a cup of coffee and my cat nearby. The lifts of the notes stirred my soul and filled me with such peace. As I listened, I thought of how, two thousand years ago, when it was announced that a child was born to us all...the Messiah, the Prince of Peace and of how the world rejoiced...yet only a mere thirty three years later, He was scorned, scourged and crucified as if He were nothing more than a criminal.
Whatever happened to the joy?
Where was the peace?
As a mother myself, I always go back to the part where Mary was told, "and you shall conceive a Son..." what must have her reaction have been? Although her "soul proclaimed the glory of the Lord..." inside, were her guts squirming in worry, in fear of the unknown? She was young, betrothed to Joseph and now, she was asked to carry a child, "conceived of the Holy Spirit!"
Mary...a young girl of 13, or 14 or 15was:
- From an insignificant humble family...
- betrothed (engaged if you like) to Joseph, but not yet married...
- who had not been with Joseph in the biblical sense - a virgin...
- who knew the law stated that she could be stoned to death for having a child out of wedlock...
I am glad that she could not see the future of her decision to agree. Could a mother's heart have withstood the fact that just when she was about to give birth, she needed to travel for the census, then giving birth in a lowly stable? Could her heart have withstood hearing of how Herod wanted her Son killed due to his own insecurity that a King was among their midst? Could her heart have withstood the fact that He had a mission to fulfill, a road to travel and how that road would end?
I know mine couldn't.
How true it is today however, for all of us. When we are given what we feel is the short shrift of life...how do WE react? Is it as Mary did, giving thanks to God...“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.”
Do we feel that the road we must travel, no matter how difficult, is because we have been blessed by God...or do we feel cursed?
Again, looking at how she agreed to the words of the Angel Gabriel, by her commitment and faith, Mary became the Mother of Our Savior! Do you ever think that because you may also be going through a most difficult time in life, that you have been cursed? Your trials, humble though it may seem to you, could be the blessing of a lifetime to someone else. Look at Stephen Hawking, physicist; look at Helen Keller, just to name two...they had their trials...yet if not for those trials, we would not be so inspired today.
Case in point: you are in a hurry, sitting in a traffic jam and just in front of you, a car suddenly breaks down. "Oh, cursed vehicle!" you are thinking, and putting aside your own frustrations, you go to that person. You ask, "how are you today, do you need some help?" and after realizing that in some small way, you are in just the right place at the right time, help is given, traffic begins to move yet again and you do manage to make it to your own destination.What you may have initially seen as an inconvenience was in fact, you just being where you were needed at the time. But say your own frustrations had you thinking, "ha! Help YOU? I am more important, find your own help!" Think of the events and how they would have played out in that instance.
Think...of how instances in our lives would have played out if circumstances had been different...all because of how you agreed or disagreed to handle them.
Is that profound or what?
It just empowers me to want to be able to reach out...to recognize...that I am not the only one on this Earth...that there are others whose needs are also just as important. Mary could have told Gabriel, "well, you see, Angel, is that what you said you were? Well, angel, I am like, planning this really cool wedding and, well, being pregnant just won't fit into my plans! I mean, what would people say...oh! and my dress, just how do you think I'll look in my dress if I am like, so fat with child? and what was that? you say I'll have to live in exile for like, two years in a country I have never been in before-without any support from my family and friends? Ummm...no...sorry and hey, you also mentioned that my child would be crucified in the end all because of people's narrow-minded thinking. What?? Are you kidding me!?? Why do I need to go through all of that? No, sorry, it just isn't happening. Go ask someone else. I'm too busy!"
End of scene.
Admit it though, you also have these same conversations, don't you? When Life has you pushed up against a wall and you see no real solution in sight, you crumble, you cry...you just want the strife to be over and done! But just think about it:
Mary said "Yes," in fact, Luke records Mary’s response to the vision of the Angel Gabriel as follows:
“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
And by her commitment and faith, changed the course of history.