Throughout the Christmas season the spotlight inevitably at some time or the other comes to rest upon Mary. We read of her in the Gospel accounts of the birth of Jesus. We sing of her in many of our Christmas carols. We think of her as we pass a manger scene with all the key characters in their places.
Mary was given the remarkable assignment of “presenting” Jesus to the world. God chose this simple young lady for an enormous task of carrying the Christ child in her womb, giving birth to Him as the Savior of the world. We know that Mary felt the tremendous weight of shouldering this responsibility. When the angel announced God’s assignment for Mary she “was greatly troubled at his words,” (Luke 1:29). She was puzzled and asked, “How will this be, since I am a virgin” (v.34)?
It’s important to note that Mary doesn’t make the mistake of Zechariah (John the Baptist’s father) when he was told that he would have a son. He asked, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man” (v.18). Zechariah had to endure the consequences for his lack of faith (see vv.18-20). Mary’s question was not rooted in doubt, but in certainty. “How will this be,” not “how can this be.”
Mary’s faith made her a prime recipient of God’s miraculous power. What Mary was about to accomplish (giving birth to God in human flesh) would not and could not be done in her own power. Luke tells us the secret to Mary being able to successfully present Jesus to the world:
“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” (v.35).
What would come about in and through Mary’s body could only be explained in terms of the Holy Spirit’s activity in overshadowing her with the power of Almighty God.
In a very real way, you and I as Christ-followers have a similar assignment to that given to Mary by God. We are chosen to “present” Jesus through our lives. Through us He is to daily invade our surroundings and circumstances through His indwelling presence in us.
Just how much the people around us truly experience Christ in all His presence and power depends upon how yielded we are to the activity of God in and through us. It’s only as the Holy Spirit comes upon us, and only as we are overshadowed by the power of the Most High God, that we will effectively present Jesus to those around us. His love will be felt through our love. His words will be heard through our words. His hands will touch through our hands.
Mary’s response to God must be ours as well: “May it be to me as you have said” (v.38).