As Christmas approaches with all of its joy and wonder, we are drawn once again to the story of Mary, Joseph, and the miraculous birth of Jesus. How blessed she was to have been chosen as a vessel to be used by the Lord. Yet how humbled and uncertain she must have felt when walking through the calling for which she was chosen. She was not unlike many of us, knowing that God has a calling on our lives. There is so much that we can learn from her story. I imagine that the morning the angel Gabriel appeared to her must have started like any other day. Preparing breakfast, seeing to the needs of her home. Envisioning what her life with Joseph would be like when they were married. Just an ordinary woman on an ordinary day. Then, in a moment, everything changed.
Gabriel greeted her:
Good morning! You’re beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you. (Luke 1:28, MSG)
Gabriel greeted her by telling her how beautiful she was to God. I just love that, don’t you? She was beautiful inside and out, he said. When God looks at us, He doesn’t see the brokenness, the hurt, the incomplete. He sees His beauty. YOU are beautiful with God’s beauty, beautiful inside and out. The God who created the universe and knows everything about you thinks you’re beautiful. Just let that soak in for a moment. Can you fathom that truth?
This passage in Luke shares that Mary was shaken by Gabriel’s greeting, wondering what was behind a greeting like that. She had a sense that something important was about to happen, and it scared her a little. But Gabriel comforted her by saying:
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 1:29-33, MSG)
I can only imagine the wheels beginning to spin in Mary’s mind. How was this to happen? Yet Gabriel told her that she had nothing to fear because God had a surprise for her! And who doesn’t love a surprise? A surprise is joyful, delightful, and special.
Just like He did for Mary, God has a surprise for you as well that is joyful and delightful and special. He has a plan and a purpose for you that you cannot even conceive of or understand. Just as the Holy Spirit came upon Mary and conceived in her the promise of the birth of Christ, the Holy Spirit will conceive in you the promise of the birth of something new in you that only you can accomplish.
Whether or not we have children on this earth, we are all birthers. Really! God is birthing something amazing in each and every one of us that we cannot even conceive of yet. Just like Mary, we are ordinary people living out our ordinary lives, and yet God has something extraordinary He wants to do through us. We are an essential part of the process!
God has a way of using ordinary vessels to do extraordinary things. Look at David, the humble shepherd who defeated Goliath and eventually grew into his calling to become king of Israel. Moses was a man who suffered from a speech impediment and fear yet led the Israelites out of Egypt. Paul persecuted the church only to have a life-changing encounter with Jesus that led to the conversion of thousands to Christ. Ordinary vessels. Extraordinary outcomes.
And just like Mary, we have nothing to fear. When we yield to God’s plan for us, we will be challenged and stretched beyond anything we thought we could do, just as a pregnancy literally stretches a woman as her baby grows. There will be challenges. There will be complications. We will often question if we are even fit for the calling placed upon us. Yet we have nothing to fear because God is in it and all around it. He will see to completion that which He has conceived in us.
Do I open the womb and not deliver the baby? Do I, the One who delivers babies, shut the womb? (Isaiah 66:9, MSG)
You will not be pregnant forever. God will birth His amazing promise in you. Nothing is impossible for our God. Just as Gabriel spelled out God’s plan for Mary, he revealed that her cousin Elizabeth conceived a son, even in her barrenness. He was reassuring her that God can do anything.
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. (Luke 1:36-37)
Gabriel is, in essence, saying, “If God can do it over there with Elizabeth, He can do it here with you!” If He can do it for others, He can do it for you. Nothing is impossible with God. Nothing.
Let me ask you something: What have you not been able to do? What have you considered impossible?
God used one ordinary woman to do the most extraordinary thing in history. God became man and dwelt among us. If He can do the extraordinary through her, He can most certainly do the extraordinary through you. God still wants to birth things in you that no one else can do.
Mary responded to Gabriel’s words as we should respond to God’s calling on our lives:
Yes, I see it all now: I’m the Lord’s maid, ready to serve. Let it be with me just as you say. (Luke 1:38)
Let it be with us just as He says. But how do we “let it be with us”? It all starts in the beginning.
In Genesis, God spoke the world into being. In the beginning, He was the conceiver of all things. God must be in the beginning of everything we do. When we invite Him into our day, our activities, our interactions, our priorities, He is able to conceive the impossible through us.
Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed;
A son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways— He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6, VOICE)
Master of Wholeness. When God conceives and begins to birth this new thing in us, and He walks it out with us, He also creates wholeness within us. In the practice of yielding to his calling, we invite Him to replace the void—the brokenness and incompleteness—with wholeness. It’s like getting riches for your rags—the best kind of story! Rest assured that you will not be birthing this thing on your own. God is always available to you and will never forsake you. He is “ever-present and never-failing” throughout the process. Pray to him using the name Jesus or His other names: “Dear Master of Wholeness,” or “Dear Ever-present, Never-failing God.” He is the birther of the impossible, and He will make all things new.
So, dear one who is beautiful with God’s beauty, both inside and out: What is God birthing in you for the coming year? What is the impossible thing that He will make possible?
Remember that when God is in the beginning of our every step, anything is possible. We can trust the Creator of all things to birth the extraordinary through us. Let it be said of us that we are the Lord’s servants, trusting in His mighty power to make the impossible possible within us as we daily submit to His will.
Let it be with us just as He says.