“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.” Luke 1:38
These are the words Mary spoke right after the angel told her the most astonishing news any woman has ever heard. She was to be overshadowed by the power of the Most High, and she would conceive a son by the power of the Holy Spirit. She was to be entrusted with the care and rearing of the holy Son of God. What a weight of responsibility she would bear! The entire course of her life was about to be radically altered. Yet she responded, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
Mary might have guessed when she spoke those words that Joseph wouldn’t understand this virgin conception. Indeed, he made plans to divorce her quietly. And although he did follow through with the marriage after his own angelic visitation, Mary still had plenty of hardship to endure.
She had to travel a long distance, while uncomfortably pregnant, to comply with an inconvenient census. As she anticipated the birth of her first child she surely never imagined she would have to wrap him in strips of cloth and place him in a manger to sleep. Yet that is what she did. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
How hard it must have been to hear the prophecy spoken by Simeon. Her child would be a sign that would be spoken against, and a sword would pierce her own soul, too. God was telling her that both their futures would be marred by dark clouds. Even during his baby days the young mother could not relax, for King Herod wanted to kill her baby. The family was forced to flee the country in the middle of the night and live in exile for years. Behold the handmaid of the Lord!
I am humbled by Mary’s words. So often my prayer is that God will give me the life I want, instead of asking Him to enable me to want the life He gives, even with its dark clouds.
This season I’m thinking about Mary, and asking God to give me a heart like hers. Shall we be like Job’s wife, accepting good from God, but not trouble? May it never be! When trials come, I pray the Lord will give me the faith to be like Joseph’s wife, a woman who says, “Be it unto me according to thy word.”
TO PONDER IN YOUR HEART: This Christmas may I accept what God has for me in my life as willingly and gracefully as Mary did in hers.