by Peggy Fry
As I was “un-decorating” my Christmas tree this last month, I thought to myself, “How can it be? It seems like just yesterday I was putting Tom Turkey in the oven for Thanksgiving!” My mind went back to the gifts, the cards, the wonderful time with family and even thoughts of those we missed being with this year, and it reminded me of the greatest gift of all — Jesus himself. I picked up my Bible and once again re-read the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke.
Luke 1:28 tells us, “And he (the angel Gabriel) came to her and said, ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you...’ ” That’s what He came for, that we might be blessed and favored. That we might experience God’s grace, which is His highest favor. That we might know His richest blessing. That the unlimited goodness He extends to us would release His very best for us!
Verse 29 continues: “But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed...” Isn’t that just like us? When we try to give things to Him, it is often so difficult because we don’t know exactly what it will mean in our lives! But in verse 30 we read, “The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid...” Fear is one of the most basic causes of everything negative that happens in our lives…and grace is the solution to the problem of fear. Remember, like Mary, we have found grace, favor and blessing with God. Then Mary says to the angel in verse 34, “How can this be?” In other words, do you realize how this will affect the rest of my life? My future hopes, dreams, plans and goals? Besides, it will mean rejection, loss of reputation…perhaps even death! Our natural response to our own flesh nature is rooted in fear, anxiety and worry. But God continually reminds us, “Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV).
The passage goes on in verse 35: “Then the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.’ ” In other words, He will completely engulf you with His love and grace. At one of the most difficult times in my life, I — like Mary — said, “How can this be happening?” The doctor told my husband that I was literally dying of a broken heart. As people began praying for me, the Lord spoke into my spirit: “Nothing is impossible with Me! And no word from God shall be without power or impossible to fulfill!”
Mary’s heart-response in verse 38 speaks volumes about her simple faith: “Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord; let it be done according to what you have said.” Here lies the key to a life full of blessing, power, favor and success: It is the choice we make to trust Him in the face of challenges. In other words, let it be done to me according to what You have said — not according to what I see, but to what You see. God’s answer to fear, anxiety and worry is submission: not giving up what we desire but giving ourselves over to Someone who is infinitely greater and better.
And blessing follows belief. In verse 45 we read: “And blessed is she who believed...” When we believe the love of God, the presence of God, the possibilities with God and the favor of God, it releases the power of God in every circumstance and we see Him — in all His glory and splendor — come into our difficult situations. Finally, the only answer that Mary can give to God’s goodness is simply, “My soul magnifies and extols the Lord” (Luke 1:46).
You see, our soul reflects our human response to life, as demonstrated in our personality, our mind, our thought life, our will, our emotions, and the way we feel about life. When these dimensions of our lives come together and begin to magnify the Lord, realizing He is greater and bigger, we realize four things:
We are favored by the Lord. He is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34 NKJV).
We don’t have to walk in fear of our past, our present or our future. We have a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).
We have the power of the Most High living in us, working to fulfill His highest will in our lives (Phil. 2:13).
We have the choice to let go and let God do and choose the best for us — according to what He says (Luke 23:46).
And with the realization of these truths, our spirit begins to rejoice in God our Savior, our healer, our deliverer, our supplier, our strength, our help, and the One who loves us unconditionally and ALWAYS wills the highest good for us both in this life and in the life to come.
Let’s continue to begin this year magnifying the Lord in all things — in our soul, in the very essence of who we are on planet earth — and we will truly realize that, with God, nothing is impossible. And then with Mary we can say, “My soul magnifies and extols the Lord! Let it be done as You have said!”