Pastor Tim Throckmorton
Christmas is about choices. What to buy and where to buy it. Will Aunt Susie like the scarf? Will Uncle Harry like the socks? Will the kids play with the new toy or will the box be more appealing. Choices we make and the outcomes that follow are part and parcel of this season of the year.
What stands out to me is the decision that God made a few thousand years ago. A decision that still confounds the wise. God chose Mary but why? Interestingly enough he didn’t send Gabriel to Jerusalem in Judea, which was the most developed part of Israel at the time. Culture and refinement didn’t seem to be God’s priority here. He was looking for just the right person to bear his son, the Savior of the world.
So Gabriel who had six months earlier visited Zecharias to tell him of John’s impending birth got his orders, Nazareth. You and I wouldn’t have picked the place or the girl yet God’s eye was upon a simple peasant with humble beginnings by the name of Mary.
“And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
She was God’s choice, but why? What did he know about her that she didn’t know about herself? What did the creator of the universe see in her that drew his attention to Nazareth? In Verse 28 Luke describes her as the, “favored one” God chose her! But why?
We see in Mary’s response to God a few things that reveal to us why perhaps that God made her his choice. Four things come to my mind quickly. First, we notice that She Listened. Let me quickly ask, what would our lives be like if we were just willing to listen when God speaks? Have there ever been instances when God has spoken and we have either ignored him or put him off a bit?
“Oh I know it’s you God, I’m a little busy right now, have to get back with you on that!”
Did you get the fact that without hesitation, Mary listened to God when He spoke. So allow me to also ask, when was the last time He spoke to you and even more importantly, did you listen? I also notice about Mary that she made sure. She made sure that she understood God’s message correctly. She wanted to clarify what she understood God to be saying to her.
“How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”
It occurs to me as I write this that there are many voices in the world to listen to. Maybe that’s why Jesus in John Chapter 15 was so detailed in describing himself as the “True vine.” There were many voices in the world then and even more today that clamor for our attention, but there is only one voice of God. Mary made sure, clarified the call and then did something truly amazing. She Responded! After listening and making sure, Mary said yes.
“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
There were two possible choices, yes and no, she chose yes. It’s really the same today isn’t it? When God speaks and we realize it is his voice we have the same two options, yes or no. Lastly I notice that Mary rejoiced. She sang, she praised God and she worshipped. The rejoicing was the result of the choosing. I wonder, what we miss as a result of our choices today?
It is truly amazing that God chose Mary but even more amazing in my mind that he chose me! Bob Benson in his story, I Likes To Be Chose, says, “Now I know that I am an improbable choice. You certainly cannot tell why I was chosen by observing me. And if you use me as an example, it will be clear that the process by which God chooses men cannot be understood by looking at the choosee.”
The last few paragraphs in Bob Benson’s story reads, “He saw me, He called me, He selected me, He picked me, He singled me out, He decided on me, He opted for me, He fixed upon me, He determined in favor of me, He preferred me, He espoused me. He chose me. He did not refuse me, He did not reject me, He did not repudiate me, He did not spurn me, He did not dismiss me, He did not exclude me. He did not ignore, disregard, cast away, throw aside, or leave me out. He chose me. It was not obligatory, mandatory, required, called for, deserved, necessary, imperative, compulsory, or forced. He just chose me. It was his open, voluntary, willful, selective, deliberate, intentional choice. He chose me. Out of His devotion, fondness, adoration, tenderness, affection, attachment, emotion, sympathy, empathy, and love, He just chose me. And it has made all the difference in my life.”
Like Benson, I like to be chosen! What an awesome thought, God chose us! Has God spoken to you? Are you convinced it is his voice and most importantly, how will you respond? Please know that rejoicing is still the result of the choosing. This Christmas don’t miss the opportunity to make the greatest choice of your life.