An Advent Reflection
In Christ’s birth narratives, there are a number of miracles that clamour for our attention—the immaculate conception, the angelic choir, and the appearance of a star, announcing His kingly birth. But this Christmas I am drawn to a miracle of another kind; the miracle of surrender that took place in Mary.
We are not told how old Mary was when the angel Gabriel announced God’s news; it’s likely she was in her early teens. It’s remarkable that one so young, was so willing, to yield so completely to God.
Some have suggested that Mary can be described as the first “Christian.” She was the first person to surrender her life to Jesus—she surrendered to God’s purposes by offering her womb and her reputation, surrendering the plans she had for her life. As we read the Scriptures, we recognize that Mary is but one, in a long line of righteous women, who trusted God with their lives.
I think of Sarah, living without an heir, in a land she would one day receive as her inheritance. In her old age, God promised to give her a son. Hebrews 11:11 says, “by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered Him faithful who had made the promise.”
Sarah and Mary are two prime examples of the discipled life—waiting, trusting, and growing. In fact, one is hard-pressed to find a better example of surrender than Mary:
Thomas Merton writes, “Sooner or later, if we follow Christ we have to risk everything in order to gain everything. We have to gamble on the invisible and risk all that we see and taste and feel. But we know the risk is worth it, because there is nothing more insecure than this transient world.”
In this Advent season, let us remember that the One who has promised, is faithful; He will finish the good work He’s begun; He can do abundantly more than we ask or imagine.
Grace and Peace to you,