Mary is one of the most courageous women in Bible history. God placed her in one of the most difficult situations that any woman, past or present, could face. Yet, she walked clothed in confidence and cloaked in the armor of God with a mindset that said, “God will bring me through this. I know it.” Mary’s attitude is an attitude many of us seek and long for in our own lives. God gave Mary what every woman wants: a fearless sentiment and a calm temperament. God gave Mary these two qualities as she was preparing for the ultimate life-changing experience. In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.’ But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name Him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His Kingdom there will be no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin?’ The angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.’ Then Mary said, ‘Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.’ Then the angel departed from her. (Luke 1: 26-38 NRSV) This piece of Scripture is deep. Mary is strong but confused. Just imagine someone claiming to be an angel of the Lord, bringing the news that God has chosen you to give birth to His one and only Son, the Messiah. Notice how Luke 1:29 says that she was “perplexed” and “pondered.” We should be comforted in knowing even Mary had some major doubts. Luke 1:34 says that Mary questioned how all of this news could be, due to the fact that she was still a virgin. When unbelievers question the story of the virgin birth of Jesus, it is understandable. Mary could not comprehend the news, either. The news was so shocking to Mary that she had difficulty processing the situation. She was stunned. Yet, after some an interval of doubt, she KNEW. With this understanding, Mary held her head high and accepted God’s calling for her life with complete trust in Him. She believed. In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver the child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-5, NRSV) The moment to rejoice had arrived…the birth of Jesus. The Prince of Peace had come into the world to “save it, not condemn it. (John 3:17) While the birth of Jesus brings sheer joy to me, I wondered what Mary was thinking on her way to Bethlehem. She must have been overwhelmed with many different thoughts incessantly running through her mind. Her emotions must have been at war with one another. The song “Breath of Heaven,” performed by Amy Grant, describes what Mary may have had on her mind as she was preparing to give birth to our Savior. “I have travelled many moonless nights. Cold and weary with a babe inside. And I wonder what I’ve done. Holy Father, You have come. And chosen me now. To carry Your Son.” We have all been in the midst of situations where we may have felt helpless and hopeless, engulfed in a storm with no escape. And in this storm, we ask ourselves, “What is God trying to teach me through all of this chaos?” I guarantee that most, if not all of you, have asked this very question in the midst of your own personal storms. Understand that Mary felt the same way. She came close to breaking. Even the woman who gave birth to the Christ had battles to fight. “I am waiting in a silent prayer. I am frightened by the load I bear. In a world as cold as stone, must I walk this path alone? Be with me now. Be with me now.” (Breath of Heaven) When I heard this line of the song for the very first time, the word “wait” leapt out at me. “Waiting” is such an important thing to do when you are walking with Christ. Mary knew she had to wait. She was aware that she could only wait.
God’s plan is the only plan that will prove successful for your life. Your life is not really your life. You are His. He is the Potter. We are the clay. Mary put on a brave face and lifted her head as high as it could be while waiting on God, although she was afraid. She desired to be obedient while battling insecurity and fear. Mary prayed and prayed that God would carry her through the storm. And, He did. I am sure that at times, there were only one set of footprints. She was not alone. Neither are we. “Breath of Heaven, hold me together. Be forever never me. Breath of Heaven. Breath of Heaven, Lighten my darkness. Pour over me Your Holiness. For You are Holy. Breath of Heaven.” Breath of Heaven…what a beautiful name for Jesus. He truly is our breath of Heaven: as we pray, as we think about Him, as we worship Him, as we serve Him, and as we love Him. “Do you wonder as You watch my face if a wiser one should’ve had my place? But I offer all I am, for the mercy of Your plan. Help me be strong. Help me be. Help me.” I often ponder why God believes in me so much. He believes in me, and He believes in you. I fail Him every day. All of us do. He continues to believe. As we face one struggle after another, God knows that each of them will help to mature us in the faith. Mary was overwhelmed. She could not fathom that she had been chosen to give birth to Jesus, the Messiah, God’s One and only Son. She felt pressured to live up to her calling. She felt like she needed to please God. What she almost failed to recognize was that she did not have to please God. He loves us regardless. Mary overcame her fear of living up to God and offered the entirety of who she was to her Heavenly Father. She gave herself to God, knowing that He was in control. Mary’s story is one that we can all learn from…offering all we are, even in the midst of doubt. It is obvious that “Breath of Heaven” is meant for Christmas, but I listen to this song year round. It brings me great comfort, knowing that Mary chose obedience to the Lord. When you read or hear the lyrics to this beautiful song, it is hard not to be moved. The song is about having thousands of reasons to be frustrated and upset, but making a choice to be positive and remain firm in our faith. Yes, He allows struggles. Life is not meant to be easy. There will be sufferings. God is on your side. He is cheering you on. While you have faith in God, God has faith in you. Everything you go through is for the greater good in God’s kingdom. You are being prepared to spend eternity with God Himself. Merry Christmas, Ladies. Rejoice…for Christ, our Savior, is born! To listen to Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant, click here.