26-28 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
29-33 She was thoroughly shaken, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. But the angel assured her, “Mary, you have nothing to fear. God has a surprise for you: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name Jesus.
He will be great,
be called ‘Son of the Highest.’
The Lord God will give him
the throne of his father David;
He will rule Jacob’s house forever—
no end, ever, to his kingdom.”
Luke 1:26-33 The Message
Who doesn’t like a surprise, especially at Christmas? Sure we make our lists, submit them to parents, Santa and even God, hoping to get exactly what we have asked for. But what about that gift under the Christmas tree that is unexpected? Or maybe it’s not under the tree but hidden in the garage? Most people love surprises when it’s something they secretly longed for. Good surprises are often welcomed, embraced and celebrated. It’s not quite so when a surprise catches us completely off guard, though.
Consider the following surprises: laid off from your job, death in the family, or new addition to the family, as is the case with Mary, the now expecting Mother of Jesus. She wasn’t expecting to be expecting! Not this soon. Not now. And certainly not like this. But there she was the young teenage bride-to-be hearing news that she would be pregnant and give birth to the Son of God.
How would you handle…or did you handle an unexpected visitor? Pregnancy? Surprise? What kind of thoughts race through your head when someone surprises you, dropping in for a visit? Gives you news of a soon-to-be-new-family-member?
A Visitor has arrived from another world to announce a huge surprise to Mary, and honestly, she handles it very well. What is it that we can take away from this young teenager to help us handle life’s surprises?
Surprises may surprise us but never surprise God.
We may be shocked, stunned, at a loss of words even, but we can rest assured that nothing is a surprise to God. Some things may catch us off guard but God will prepare, sustain and prove Himself to be God through whatever your surprise may be. It’s wonderful to know that God sent an angel to Mary to announce to her this good news. She may not have seen it as good news at first…her plans would be changed, her life would be changed, even her reputation and marriage were at stake over this “good news”. Mary welcomed the surprise as a humble servant of the Lord, trusting everything about herself to God. God will most certainly prepare you for whatever He is going to allow in your life and even though it may seem a “surprise” to you, He’s been readying you for it all along.
Surprises are not always what we want or expect.
This was certainly a surprise to Mary and would be a surprise to everyone around her, especially Joseph. She had probably dreamed as many young girls do of having that special wedding day experience. However, this was not anything close to her wildest imagination. Yet Mary willingly submitted her will to the will of God, embracing God’s choice of her to bestow this wonderful surprise. She was willing to lay aside her dreams, desires, expectations, hopes, plans, all of it, at the altar of God. Mary somehow knew even at this young age that God doesn’t always give us what we want or expect but that everything that comes from God is ultimately for our good. As a humble servant, Mary chose to believe in God’s plan over her own.
36-38 “And did you know that your cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, old as she is? Everyone called her barren, and here she is six months pregnant! Nothing, you see, is impossible with God.”
And Mary said,
Yes, I see it all now:
I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve.
Let it be with me
just as you say.
Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:36-38 The Message
Surprises will require faith to accept and believe
Can you see it now? Mary finally could see it happening right before her very eyes. She had faith to believe and accept all the angel was telling her. She had the faith to believe that nothing was impossible for God. When surprises hit you, even this Christmas season, remember that nothing is too hard or impossible for God! When out-of-the-blue, you are caught off guard, remember that God sees everything and He’s not shaking or surprised at all. Ask God to give you eyes to see what He’s doing. Ask God to help you embrace the new birth that’s about to happen. Ask God to prepare you for the arrival of something new. Then move forward in faith knowing that even though things may be unexplainable, misunderstood and mysterious, they are what God wants to give you this year. It may not be what you’re asking for but it may be exactly what the world and you need.