Like most kids, I had heard about Niagara Falls. I”d seen pictures of it and believed it was there. But then one day, my family took a trip and I saw and heard Niagara Falls. Standing on tip-toes, hanging over the rail, gaping at the awesome power, vibrating with the thunderous noise of it, feeling the mist – the tiniest particles of moisture from a deadly powerful flow of water – for the first time, Niagara Falls became real to me.
I suspect something like that happened to Mary, the day the angel, Gabriel, showed up and told her:
“Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” (Luke 1:30b-33)
Mary had been told about God and believed in Him, but on this day He became undeniably real – so real that she couldn’t pretend or play along as though the message was some kind of prank. Mary knew, because it was real, she didn’t qualify; the angel had the wrong woman:
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34)
Her response shows she was taking this seriously, it was real to her. In reply, the angel told her that God’s Spirit would enter one cell in her body and complete it, bringing it to new life:
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)
For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:37)
Mary’s next response reflected her faith, her humility (she didn’t argue or suggest a better plan) and her full surrender:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:38)
You have heard that story. You have been told about God and Jesus. But one day, you will probably have an experience like Mary’s. The details will differ, but one day you will go from believing about Jesus to suddenly knowing He is real. No matter how that happens for you, I encourage you not to turn away. Press up to the rail on tip-toes. Stretch out and get as close to His thundering, awesome power as you can.
Here’s why: If you respond as Mary did, with humility and surrender, God’s Spirit will enter into your soul, complete it, and bring it to new life – His life. To know Jesus is real, is to know He is God, to know He became human to reach you in a way you could understand and that He died to square all your debts with God forever. And for you to say to Jesus, “Let it be to me, just as You have said,” is to receive from Him full forgiveness and eternal, “living water” life.
That’s the way to a Mary Christmas!
PS – If you would like more information, on the right column of this page, you can select posts by topic. Select “The Good News of Jesus” and read through those. Questions? Send me a note. Merry Christmas!