I wonder what it was that made Mary highly favored by God to be the mother of His Son, to hold him when he cried, to feed him, to laugh with him, to play with him, to nurture him and love him the way no one else in all the history of the universe ever would. I wonder what she was like and I wonder what it was that made her how she was. I wonder if as a kid she got made fun of. I wonder if even before this scandalous event she was already a bit of an outcast in her village. I wonder if she tripped and people laughed as she dusted off her robe. I wonder if she was really as immaculately beautiful as all the movies and paintings make her out to be. I wonder if maybe she was plain. I wonder if she was betrothed to such an older man because nobody else would have her. I wonder what kind of loss and pain she knew. I wonder what she talked to God about as she went about her daily work. She called herself humble, and humility always comes with a story. And part of me wonders if by humble, she really means lonely and scared sometimes, but full of trust. I wonder if in the face of fear and hurt and other things a human girl would know, she leaned the entire weight of her inner being into the kingdom of God and understood that things were simply not at they seemed.
What was it that made her so irresistibly beautiful to God. I can just imagine His pulsing heart over her thinking, “Yes, this is her, this is the one. This is the one who bends my heart to breaking with love. Her faith is irresistible to me. This is the one I want to honor more than any other woman on earth.” I think of God’s track record throughout the Bible, the people that he likes to honor, and they are real people who make really big mistakes and experience heartache and confusion, but they say, “Yes.”
And this, I would argue, is the most brave, beautiful, and powerful “yes” there ever was, simply:
“I am the Lord's servant. Let it be unto me according to your word.”
This is not the statement of a weak and timid girl. This is the statement of a warrior, of someone who knows who they are. I imagine her head reeling with confusion, her heart battling up against her saying, “Don’t believe it. This is simply too good to be true. Who do you think you are?” A sentiment quite often expressed by the greatest people of faith throughout the Bible after being confronted with the voice of the Lord. She seemed more concerned with logistics of pregnancy than with her worthiness. She sat there in the presence of the Angel Gabriel, her heart stood up and shook off the fear and chose to believe. She received. And interestingly, this is one of the first things that her cousin Elizabeth says to her when she comes to visit, “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises over her.”
I have always assumed (and perhaps even been taught) that it was her perfect innate purity that qualified her. But she was a human and I find myself wondering if it was really more to bring favor in a place of lack than it was for Jesus to be raised by a person who was pretty darn close to perfect, as if the King of Heaven needed human help to be the exact image of God. I imagine the Father and the Holy Spirit watching them together, those sweet moments between mother and child, Jesus wrapping his chubby little arms around Mary's neck, planting a kiss on her cheek, and her heart nearly bursting with joy. Arms that were empty are full, a heart that was downcast rejoices. That just seems like the Lord to me, that He would entrust his son to a girl who despite all of her earthly circumstances, knew her place as daughter. Yes, I imagine them watching from heaven, hearts breaking forth like the sun, fully pleased with this arrangement.
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name. 50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”