If I could pick one story in the Bible to be able to witness, I might pick the gospel for this week. Maybe it is because I am a woman. Maybe it is because there is little revealed about how Mary was feeling or what she was thinking. Did she hesitate? Did she cry? Did she say, “Yes!” or “Yes?” or “Yes.”? I think I would like to travel back in time to witness this moment because I see it as a turning point in the story, a moment that made Jesus possible. It seems to me to be a tenuous moment that so easily could have gone the other way.
Mary’s “yes” always amazes me. There were consequences for that “yes.” Mary looked at Gabriel (don’t you kind of wonder what that conversation between a young woman and an angel was really like?) and said, “Let it happen as you say.” Her permission was an acknowledgment of a truth I forget daily. We are not really in complete control of our lives. There are things, good and bad, that happen to us everyday that are beyond our control. There is spontaneity of life that takes us down paths we dared never to imagine. She said, “yes,” to God, and everything changed. It was bold, maybe even irrational to say yes to such a life altering proposition, and it carried with it consequences. Maybe Joseph would leave her. Maybe the pregnancy would go poorly. She must have been scared, right? She let go, trusted God, and I will be forever amazed at that “yes.”
Because of that “yes,” God became flesh. Jesus had a human experience. When I read stories about Jesus walking on water or resurrecting from the dead, it is easy for me to forget that he was really fully human. It has been so important to my faith to remember that Jesus had skin and hands and toenails. He experienced what it felt like to be human. He knows what it is like to die.
It amazes me that women can bear another human life in their bodies. It amazes me that Jesus was totally dependent on the body of Mary for life. She could have said, “no,” but she said, “yes.” Advent and Christmas are seasons filled with awe and amazement for me, only the kind of awe a baby can bring to a room. There is a silent reverence in the awe that Mary inspires in me. It gives me strength and courage to look at my life and see where God is wanting me to say, “yes,” too.
That is why I would love to be able to travel back in time and see Mary consent to be the Mother of Jesus. In a way, that is the moment that started the world as we know it. A world where the one we worship knows what it feels like to be a human in the world. That is good news.
What Bible story would you like to witness?
How do you think Mary was feeling when Gabriel came to her?
Do you tend to think of Jesus as more human or more divine?