It seems like this time of year we (at least I do anyway) tend to think of Mary more often. She is the mother of our Lord after all. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine what she felt when the angel appeared to her that day? Saying "Do not be afraid, Mary (are you kidding me?), you have found favor with God". I would've been looking around me for another Mary. Knowing myself I would've been a doubting Thomas and reacted differently than she did. Mary responded "I am the Lord's servant, May it be to me as you have said." Wow. I don't think I could've kept my mouth from saying that little, for I tend to talk even more when I am nervous. (Scary thought, I know) Then again, this is why God found favor in her, for who she was. He knew her heart and how she would respond even before she did.
In our small group the other night, we read this passage Luke 1:26-38 a couple of times to let it resonate in our hearts. A friend spoke what she picked up from it. In the passage before (1:5-25) when the angel appeared before Zechariah to say "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son,..." Zechariah responded (like I more than likely would've) "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years". He totally was doubting what the angel said would happen. What the angel says in response is what gets me. "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."(emphases mine) I think sometimes I need reprimanded to gain a realization of how much I doubt. And my boys would really love it if I couldn't speak anymore!! I would be a permanent mute mind you for how much I doubt. My friend was comparing the responses from Zechariah and Mary. What a contrast. Believe or doubt. When we believe that there is a God and believe in His Son, we need to believe the Word of God. We need to know the Word by reading it. You might not need a church to be 'saved', but you do need the Word of God to truly believe. Mary found her merry by trusting and believing. May you ponder these ways and truly find your merry this Christ filled season.