I’m sitting here with Tavryn Joelle, our miracle born this October, bundled against me, snoozing her content little heart out. The fire is crackling. Lights are twinkling. Dog is prancing. Husband is dinner-prepping. And yes, the stockings are hung with care.
And a woman’s voice echoes in my ear. Faint. Distant. About 2000 years old. Last year her words whispered to me, held my attention, and became a roaring anthem of 2019.
Her story was one I knew. And yet didn’t, too. I’d heard it so many times but last year there was something so new and so captivating to me. I read through Luke 1-2 at Christmas, and then I didn’t leave that passage for months. Instead, I saturated, returning to it day after day indefinitely, taken anew with this woman’s voice when she said “may it be to me according to your Word.”
So basically, you should stop reading this and go read Luke 1-2. Go read what she said.
This voice, this woman, was of course Mary. And those words were her response to the Angel Gabriel announcing that she, a virgin, would bear Jesus, the Messiah. His proof text was that Elizabeth, the barren woman, was also pregnant – yeah, we’ll come back to that.
I was mesmerized by both of these women and their responses to the unexpected.
… may it be to me according to your Word …
These words – this short, simple sentence – contains a lifetime’s worth of wisdom. Of surrender. And of power. You could sum up the Christian call in these words. May it be to me – to us – according to the Word of God.
The Word that is true. That is alive. That is both shocking and comforting. That calls us to things that are daunting and delightful. That asks the impossible – and then delivers it.
Aristotle once said that he would rather the probable impossible than the improbable possible. Me too. At least I like the romance of it. Sometimes the living of it is much harder.
I’ve lived both. And when Mary’s words crossed my path as if for the first time last year, I had no idea the tone they’d set for the year that was to come. I was in the midst of deep grief after the death of a dear friend. I was wrestling against a brutal diagnosis of a loved one. I was asking for impossible things.
And Mary’s words – this simple anthem, this prayer – found deep roots in my heart each day. May it be to me according to your Word.
And you know, that friend is still gone. That diagnosis hasn’t changed. And I’m still asking for the same impossible things.
Because this prayer isn’t meant to fix all, but to surrender all.
All while unbeknownst to me, I was about to be the unexpectedly pregnant barren woman. Get this. Here I sat last year, saturating in this passage throughout the Christmas season and through the whole month of January, just totally captivated by it, praying prayers about trusting God to do the impossible, resonating with a story of reconciliation and surrender. And about a million light years away from the idea that I’d ever be pregnant. That wasn’t the impossible thing I was asking for.
I find so much of God’s kindness in having me saturate in the story of Elizabeth and Mary right before finding out our own impossible news. These women who will forever herald for me the idea of surrender and reconciliation to stories we can’t write. Women who lived the probable impossible.
I stayed in their story for months as it anchored me to my own.
So here I sit, a Christmas later, marveling at how formative this anthem was for 2019. Thankful for it.
Seriously, go read Luke 1-2. Maybe just for the day, maybe for weeks or months. Don’t just read it for the Christmas story. Read it for your own.
Dare to ask yourself what it looks like to echo “may it be to ME according to YOUR word.” I don’t know if there are more vulnerable words that we can be more confident in.
P.S. It really is SUCH a rich passage. I LOVED studying it further. If you want to dive deeper with me, I got to unpack it more in a sermon earlier this year – on Mother’s Day, actually. It’s good stuff (not my words so much but His).
Mothers Day 2019 from Saltworks on Vimeo.