December 2020 — pg. 7
I t’s not easy to condense important events,
but if I had to summarize the Christmas
story, it could be done with one word ... YES!
The birth of Jesus that unfolds from the pages
of Scripture is all about YES!
Joseph said yes. Mary said yes. The
shepherds said yes. Most importantly, God
Scripture gives us many examples of people
who said yes when God called them. Often
the invitation did not include the details, so
the future remained uncertain. God’s call
is to respond in obedience and walk by
Hebrews 11:8 points out the
uncertain future of Abraham’s call: “By
faith Abraham, when called to go to
a place he would later receive as an
inheritance, obeyed and went, even
though he did not know where he
“Even though he did not know
where he was going”? What
would your response have
been? I would have asked
God for more details.
Abraham was not
perfect. He was flawed and
human just like we are,
but when God called,
Abraham said yes!
Mary could have
said no. She was a
young teenage girl.
She could have
what is being
asked of me.
... Joseph will
me. ... I can’t
That is not what Mary said. Luke 1:38
records Mary’s response: “I am the Lord’s
servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as
you have said.” Mary said yes!
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen comments, “No
matter what Mary faced, she chose to
participate in God’s plans. Mary, like Hannah
centuries earlier, sang yes! to God even though
she had no idea what her future held. When
the angel Gabriel first appeared to her, she said
‘Yes, Lord’ to the possibility of losing her fiancé
and living in disgrace as an unwed mother.
She said yes to an unknown, unchosen new
season in her life. Mary had no idea what she
was agreeing to, yet she blossomed into the
biggest yes of her life.”
Illegitimacy in her world was unthinkable.
An unmarried teenage girl with a baby was
ridiculed and scorned, and her child would be
Martin Luther, quoting St. Bernard of
Clairvaux, saw three great miracles in Christ’s
nativity: 1. The incarnation. 2. The virgin
birth. 3. Mary’s obedience. Luther sees Mary’s
willingness to obey God as the greatest of the
three miracles. It meant hardship, alienation,
misunderstanding, and loss of her reputation.
Mary was fully aware of what her yes meant.
This young teenager was willing to set aside
her reputation because she had heard from
Mary’s name in Hebrew means “rebellion” or
“disobedient,” but her response was complete
submission and obedience to the words of the
angel and the faithfulness of God. Her humble
submission to God’s plan would alter her life
and pierce her soul.
When Joseph and Mary bring baby Jesus
to the temple for His circumcision, they meet
Simeon and Anna. Simeon, who is described
in Luke 2:25 as “righteous and devout,” speaks
these difficult words to Mary, “And a sword
will pierce your own soul too.”
events of Jesus’ birth
came about because of
to say yes.”