07 December 2009


Most invitations expire. The happening is announced. You’re invited. The event happens and you either attend or you don’t attend. The party wraps up. Concerts, sporting events, even weddings, have a beginning time and an ending time.

And unless you’re holding an unused ticket for Woodstock, the invitation or the ticket probably isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Sure, you could show up late. But who knows what you’ve missed? The key after receiving the invitation is to say “yes” and show up.

Mary showed up. Like Esther in The Old Testament, Mary realized that she’d been “born for such a time as this.” Here’s what Luke’s Gospel tells us about the delivery of Mary’s invitation, Mary’s question, God’s answer and Mary’s response.


The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you.” But Mary was very startled by what the angel said and wondered what this greeting might mean. The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace. Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him ‘Jesus’. He will be great and will be called the ‘Son of the Most High.’ The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”


Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen since I am a virgin?”


The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. For this reason the baby will be holy and will be called the ‘Son of God.’ Now Elizabeth, your relative, is also pregnant with a son, though she is very old. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant for six months. God can do anything!”


Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!” Then the angel went away.

This Christmas season Jesus comes to you and to me with an invitation, and like Mary, we have the opportunity to say “yes” or say “no.” “Will you let Me live inside of you, grow inside of you, and be birthed out of you in your thoughts, your words, your priorities, and your actions?” Jesus asks us.

“But the cost is too great!” “But I am too in love with myself to surrender to you.” “But what will others think?” “But I’m too old, or too far gone to turn myself over to You.”

And to each of our questions, Jesus’ answer is the same: “God can do anything. You’re not at the end of the road. You can begin again. Many others are on this same journey with me and they can testify to the beauty, the grace, the peace and the joy of surrender. Come home to me. Make your home in me. Let me become more than a story to you this Christmas. There’s no expiration date on this invitation. But timing is everything. This is your time.” Godspeed.



No comments: