“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.
After I left school, I went to work for Marks and Spencer for two years. I began as a temporary seasonal sales assistant working in menswear, but managed to join the management training programme, whereupon I reached the dizzy heights of ladieswear manager. Although it was not always a happy time for me, having moved hundreds of miles away from my family and friends, I genuinely felt that God wanted me to be there. Consequently, when I was made redundant, I found myself raging against God. Why had he taken me so far away from home? Why had he ensured that my time at Marks and Spencer was so brief? Having always trusted that God had a plan for my life, and that I had been following that plan, I could not understand what was going on. It took me some time to realise that this might, in fact, have been God’s plan all along. What if he had in mind for me to fulfil a specific purpose in that particular workplace? What if he had wanted me to have those experiences to grow in a particular way?
Sometimes, it can be hard to trust that God is in control. Sometimes it can be hard to accept that God has a plan for us. When all around us is changing, and we find ourselves living in a fast-moving world, it can be hard to trust that God knows what he is doing. Would we not be better off relying on our own judgement?
For Mary, though, this does not seem to have been an issue. She placed he faith completely in God, and wanted to adhere to his will for her life. Even in the extraordinary circumstances which Mary found herself in, she wants nothing more than for God’s will to unfold in her life. And let’s not forget, these were pretty extraordinary circumstances! The angel Gabriel has just appeared to Mary and told her that, despite being a virgin, she is going to have a child. Not just any child. Mary is to give birth to the son of God! She doesn’t look around to see which of her friends is playing a prank on her. She doesn’t tell Joseph to stop being so silly, and take the halo off. She simply takes the angel at his word, and says to him, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be as you have said.”
Perhaps we too should strive to be more like Mary. Maybe we should simply humble ourselves before God, tell him that we are his servants, and that we want God’s will to work in our lives. This Christmas, why not ponder on that. Why not try praying, “I am the Lord’s servant” each day, and see what God has in store for you?