An Appropriate Response to Unusual Circumstances

As Christmas is swiftly approaching (seriously, where did this year go?!), my thoughts have been on the events leading up to the birth of Christ.

After 400 years of silence, an angel appeared to a young virgin girl with a word from Heaven.
She was going to have a son…THE Son.
The One all of mankind had been waiting for.
The One who had been promised so long ago.
The One who would bring salvation to a sinful, hopeless world…..
And God had chosen her, Mary, to be the vessel through which Jesus would arrive.

I have often wondered how Mary must have felt when the angel came to visit her, bringing the news that she would soon give birth to the God of creation.
Was she nervous?
How could she remain calm?
Did she remain calm?
What was going through her mind?
Did she think there had been some mistake?
Was she worried about what everyone would think since she and Joseph were not yet married?
Was she worried about what Joseph would say and do?
How many hours did she spend contemplating the fact that the baby inside her had created her, and would eventually be her salvation?
How did she feel knowing that her precious Son would die….for her?
How did she reconcile all these things in her mind?

Perhaps I overthink things, but as a woman, I’ve always been curious as to the state of Mary’s mind, heart, and emotions.

As I was reading back over Luke 1 and 2, a few verses really jumped out at me.

After Mary had the visit from the angel, she went to see her cousin, Elisabeth.
Now, as women, we all have someone we go to when we have good news to share or things get too overwhelming and we can “freak out” and “vent” and then we feel better.
It may be a sister or mom or friend, or as in Mary’s case, a cousin.
In their exchange, we see what Mary said and how she truly felt about this amazing Gift the Lord had chosen to give her.

“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.”
Luke 1:46-49

This still amazes me.
Mary has nothing negative to say, nor does she show the least bit of concern.

“My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
Her very first words are those of worship.
Not confusion or anger or fear, but thankfulness.
She is very aware of who has chosen her and given her this great honor, and she chooses to see it in that way.

“For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.”
She sees herself as lowly and of no importance, and yet God has chosen her.
The God who created all things, parted the Red Sea, and thundered on Mt. Sinai chose Mary to be His mother…to give birth to Him, to feed and care for Him, to teach Him things, to look out for Him and guide Him, to protect Him until the day would come when He would reveal Himself as the “only begotten of the Father,” and His earthly ministry would begin.
She realized that this news the angel delivered was going to change her life.
She would forever be known as the mother of the Son of God.

“For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.”
As much as I love these other verses, this one is my favorite.
In the context of what’s going on and what Mary is referring to, this is really an amazing statement.

No doubt, Mary had plans for her life.
She was about to marry Joseph.
No girl falls in love and prepares for her wedding and new life without making plans for what it may include.
I’m sure she probably dreamed of a happy home, full of love and children and one day, grandchildren, with her and Joseph growing old together. (It’s just what we do.)
But now, this announcement had changed everything.
All those previous plans and daydreams flew out the window with her heavenly visitor.

Did she lament the loss of the life she had planned?
Was there ever a moment when she wished things were different…were easier?
While I don’t know whether or not those thoughts ever ran through her mind, it is clear that she did not entertain such thoughts, for she reached this conclusion: “He that is mighty hath done to me great things.”

This was a very unusual situation.
Never before had these specific circumstances taken place.
Mary was the only woman to ever experience this particular life-altering event.

…But we’ve all experienced something that affects our life plan, haven’t we?
Some piece of news that changes everything as we know it?

“I’m sorry, but it’s cancer.”
“There’s been an accident. Your (insert family member here) won’t be coming home tonight.”
“It looks like you won’t be able to have children.”
“I’m sorry, but the adoption fell through.”
“I want a divorce.”
“We just received word there was a fire. I’m sorry, but your house is gone.”

Perhaps it isn’t a piece of news that changes things, but the lack of news.
As a teenager, you imagined getting married and starting your family at a young age….but here you are in your 30s or 40s wondering if things will ever be different than the way they are now.

Whatever form it takes, we will all experience something that changes things, that changes us.
When that happens, it usually comes from our blind side and we are sent reeling.
When the chips fall and you’ve had a day or two to attempt to process, where will you stand?

When your unusual circumstances arise, will you be angry or confused?
Or will you, like Mary, see it as the providence of God?

Mary had an appropriate response to the circumstances God allowed in her life.
This was no mistake or accident.
God had planned this long ago.
Becoming angry or frustrated wasn’t going to change her situation one bit.
The same is true for our circumstances.
Whatever it is you’re facing may have taken you off guard, but not Him.

May God help us to lift our hands to Him, in spite of the situation He has allowed us to be in, and say along with Mary, “For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.”

Friends, He is holy.
He is worthy of praise and honor and worship for who He is.
He’s our Savior.
Our Redeemer.
The Mighty God.
The Everlasting Father.
The Prince of Peace.
Our Resurrected Lord.

“Holy is His name.”


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