And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”
Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her. ~ Luke 1:35-38
Mary’s yes changed the world forever. Because she was willing to surrender herself into the hands of God and trust that God would provide a way, Jesus came.
Since we have the perspective of knowing the rest of the story, it could be easy for us to overlook the depth of Mary’s faith that enabled her to say, “May it be done to me according to your word”. She was a young, unwed teenager. A consequence of becoming pregnant could have been being stoned to death according to the law at that time. Her earlier question to the angel, “How can this be”?, underscores the fear Mary must have felt as she peered into the unknown future.
Mary’s “yes” is amazing because it comes after so many centuries of God’s people turning away from God and saying “no”. Mary could have also said no. For example, she might have said:
“No, I don’t believe what you are telling me can be true”.
“No, I am not worthy. Find someone else”.
“What, me the mother of God? Yeah, right.”
“No, I will not do this. This is my life and I want to live it my way”.
Mary is known by many titles of honor. Perhaps today we can think of her as being “The Perfect Example”, for she shows us the way of responding in faith when God asks us to bring Christ forth into the world. May we follow Mary’s example and be able to courageously abandon ourselves into the hands of God, knowing that God will take our “yes” and lead us to find the peace that comes to us in Jesus.