The Characters of Christmas: A Five-Day Devotional

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


At the angel’s words, Mary had a simple response: “I am the Lord’s servant; let it be done to me according to your word.” 

In other words, Mary said “yes” to God. And this was no simple yes. Let’s consider what Mary was signing up for. 

Mary was saying yes to bearing the shame of an unwed pregnancy at a time when this carried incredible social stigma. Would her friends and family believe her claims to have been visited by the Holy Spirit? Would Joseph stay with her or put her away? We know the end of the story, but Mary did not. 

Mary was saying yes to raising the son of God. It’s hard enough to raise a fallen child, but imagine the burden of raising Jesus? Imagine her fear every time he left the home to play with friends, every time he picked up a sharp knife in Joseph’s carpentry shop. Sure, God would ensure that Jesus would only die according to plan, but for Mary the responsibility of caring for this most important child would be staggering. 

Most of all, though, Mary knew what was coming. She may not have understood all that Calvary would bring, but she knew enough to dread that day her son was unjustly put on trial by his own people, her people. She knew enough to feel the foreboding sense—prophesied by Simeon in the temple—that he’d be beaten senseless, hung on a tree, nails in his hands and a sword in his side. Every parent’s nightmare is to see their children suffer and Mary would live this in the most acute and agonizing way possible. 

So this is what Mary was saying yes to. And yet she said yes. Yes I will do it, Lord. Mary may have trembled when she uttered those words. And yet she didn’t have a choice. She gave the same answer all true believers give when visited by God. If this is really true, if the baby in her stomach was the Messiah who would save her and all who believe from their sins, then of course she had to say yes. 

And today that same question is being asked of people like you and me. What will you say to Jesus? Will you say yes? Will you turn your back, like Mary, on your dreams and say yes to the One who died for you?