“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38 “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior.” Luke 1:46-47
Have you had intentional or unintentional moments when you did not say yes to God when He called you to something? Have you brushed that feeling off, that little nudge to help the person on the side of the road or the homeless person at the corner? Perhaps you keep telling yourself you will write that book, talk to your friend about going to church or serve in that ministry you keep being asked about? Sometimes I think procrastination and fear of stepping out of our comfort zone are Satan’s favorite in keeping us from saying YES to God in the moments He is calling us.
What if Mary procrastinated or just didn’t feel comfortable saying YES when St. Gabriel told her she was chosen by God to carry and deliver His son. What would that story look like? Would the Bible end at the Old Testament? Would Christmas even be a day of celebration? What about Easter? What about us? What would life be like for us sinners?
I think it’s interesting to look at salvation history if Mary had not said YES, if she had not trusted God and His plan for her. Seriously, could you imagine the fear she must of had, being so young and told that she would be the mother of God’s son? The fear of potential shame of being pregnant and not for the one she was betrothed to? In our world that’s a scary thought and would be considered a heavy burden.
In this perspective of Mary’s YES, I think about the many times that I have said NO out of fear or I procrastinated something that perhaps God was calling me to do. I wonder how much richer life would be if I said YES and trusted God at least 75% of the time when He is nudging me. I honestly wish I could just kick FEAR to the curb and didn’t make so many excuses of why I don’t have time to do something except put it off. As I’m writing this, I’m procrastinating writing two other pieces because I’m afraid of what others may think about it. In fact, my plan as my day started in prayer was to spend my day writing. I found so many menial tasks to do today and didn’t pull my laptop out until 8 pm. At that point my mind is restless and ready for bed.
Some time ago, I noticed an elderly man on a chilly morning sitting near the curb in front of a department store. I felt this nudge to give him some cash and then began to talk myself out of it. I could feel this sense deep within me to help him out. I drove by where he was and lowered the window. Gave him the cash I had. The smile on his face and the words of blessings that he spoke told me that this was a God moment. I’m not sure what that little bit of cash was able to do for this gentleman but that wasn’t for me to know or understand. I was only to say YES to the feeling in the pit of my stomach to do something that would make some difference in God’s plan. What if I had just kept driving? Would God have nudged someone else? Would that person have helped him out? Would that poor elderly man been able to get something warm to eat or drink? What if this man was the face of God calling me, calling you to compassion and mercy, love and kindness?
When St. Gabriel came to Mary, did she know or understand God’s plan? Or did she just trust that God knew what He was doing and she was His humble servant? I’m always astonished by Mary’s model of trust. She is one of the greatest example of trust alongside Abraham in my opinion. This Christmas as we celebrate, let’s take a minute to thank Mary for her YES and ask Jesus for the courage to resemble the trust that His mother had in accepting God’s plan for her, for Him and for us. Without her YES – would we be celebrating Christmas, would we celebrate Easter, would we have eternity to look forward to?