A Match Struck
We are entering the Christmas season and the world around us tells us we must do more, have more, accomplish more, or we have failed. I would encourage you to push against that, and pause, even just for a few minutes each day and look around and listen. See what God might be calling you to pick up or put down. Listen to a song you love, read a blog, read part of the Christmas story, anything that allows you to pause and take in God’s heart for this season. Here is a little something to reflect on.
As the Old Testament closes, God’s voice disappears. Though he was still present and working in the world, he grew silent. For hundreds of years, we have no recorded evidence of God speaking to or through anyone. Spiritually speaking, it was dark. But, the darkness didn’t change the fact that God’s Word was, and is, true and He had promised not to leave His people alone. Because God has shown over and over again that He keeps his word, we know He may have been silent, but He was at work. We’ve all been there, right? In those moments where it’s all dark and we believe we are all alone. But, a little light begins to seep in, a glimmer of hope ignites in our hearts; our perspective begins to shift.
When all was dark for the nation of Israel, God struck a match. Have you ever thought about how much light a match creates when there is utter darkness? Out of the silence, an angel of the Lord, Gabriel, spoke to Zachariah but Zachariah didn’t believe what he heard. Much like Abraham and Sarah, he believed a coming child was impossible because of his and Elizabeth’s advanced age and their many years of barrenness. Because of his unbelief, God struck Zachariah mute. But none the less, Elizabeth conceived in her old age and became the mother of John, the one who would prepare the way for the coming Messiah.
With this match, God lit a flame when he then spoke to Mary. Mary, a young girl, likely around 14 years old, faced the angel Gabriel with one simple question, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” Upon Gabriel’s also simple explication, Mary responded, “I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Mary, this young girl from Nazareth, who had never seen God move in this way, simply said yes. She simply believed. She had the child-like faith that her son would one day call us all to walk in obedience because of her faith. She became the mother of the Light of the world, the mother of Emmanuel. She carried the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Because of Him, she could light the way for others
Upon meeting sometime later, Elizabeth’s John, yet in her womb, recognized that Mary was carrying his promised savior. The flame God’s word ignited in Mary began to blaze and she could no longer contain herself. Receiving Elizabeth’s blessing, Mary burst out in song.
My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” Luke 1:46-55 ESV
After hundreds of years of darkness, God’s light began to break though once again. I know we often shy away from Mary because we don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea, to think we hold her in a place of reverence, equal to that of her son. But, her part of the story is here for a reason. Take a moment and read the words that Mary shared again. What do you see? What speaks to your heart? Take a listen to this song, a reflection of these words. Again, what do you hear? What speaks to your heart?
My prayer is that as we enter into this Christmas season, we will pause and remember Mary’s joy, Mary’s heart, Mary’s words. When we believe in Christ and that He is who He says He is and did what He said He would do, we carry within us the light that Mary carried. We shine that light in this dark world and spread the hope that Mary brought into this world all those years ago. I pray as we move about where God has placed us that we will shine in a way that causes others to ask, “What’s different about her?” I pray that you and I can respond as Mary did, “My soul magnifies the Lord…for He who is mighty has done great things for me.”
– Author, Heather Carty