Christmas’ First Word

Most people remember what their children’s first words were. In many cases, it is some form of mom and dad. Once heard, parents will try to get their child to repeat it so others can listen too. And as time moves forward, parents wait excitedly to hear what the next word will be. And as time continues to move forward, the child will put words together to form sentences, which will eventually lead to conversations with others.

Mary unexpectedly found herself in a conversation with an angel. This young teenage girl from Nazareth suddenly found herself in the most important conversation she had ever had. This angel had come with a message to the young girl. God had chosen her to become the mother of God’s son through the Holy Spirit. Whatever conversations Mary had had that day, they dissipated in the light of this revelation. Here she stood before a heavenly messenger who had just informed her that she was favored by God and would soon to be the mother of God’s son. 

Yet, Mary is a virgin. Virgins don’t have babies. This is not how biology works. Thus, we hear the first word of Christmas spoken from Mary, “how?” Mary asks the angel, “how can this be since I am a virgin?” The first word we ever hear Mary speak is “how.” Standing before the angel, Mary is full of questions. How is all of this going to work?

In our faith, “how” is also a question that we pose to God as well. As we consider our lives, we often wonder “how” God is working in them. We believe in God, but how does God work in our lives? Life can be complicated, messy, and challenging at times. We can sometimes look at our lives and wonder how anything good can come out of a current situation. How in the world is God going to pull off something good amid such a time? Hence, we are often left wondering how, why, when, where, what, and who in our relationship with God. We know God is working; we just don’t know how. In the book of Isaiah, God speaks to the prophet, saying,

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways, my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55: 8-9)

Indeed, grasping the mind and workings of God is too much for us as humans. We will never be able to fully grasp the mind of God on this side of eternity. But to all our questions to God, God replies, “trust me.” Mary would trust God even though she had very few answers to her questions. She would trust that God knew what was going on, and that was enough. Thus, as the conversation comes to an end, Mary confesses, Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me, according to your word. (Luke 1:38). Like Mary, to all our unanswered questions, we must trust God and respond, “Let it be with me according to your word.” 

Published by Dr. Philip W. Turner

Since 1991 I have had the joy of serving as Pastor of Pine Street Baptist Church in the community of Oregon Hill in Richmond, Virginia. The people I have met a long the way have inspired me in my daily ministry. I have truly been blessed.

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