I often describe myself as skeptical. My husband is definitely an idealist, and my pragmatic realism makes us a good balance. This year is the first time Mary, the mother of Jesus, has looked like a kindred soul.
When the angel Gabriel first greeted Mary, he called her “highly favored” and proclaimed that the Lord was with her. Then Luke says that “Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.” That is, she was skeptical.
After Gabriel explained God’s plan for Mary, she was still in questioning mode: “How will this be since I am a virgin?” It is an excellent question. I appreciate that she was keeping an eye on the mechanics of this thing, and not just falling on her face and agreeing to any crazy prediction the angel made.
Mary trusted God and pledged herself as his servant in that conversation with the angel. But she didn’t sing the magnificat until after she’d seen her cousin Elizabeth. Reading it now, her visit with Elizabeth seems to have functioned largely as confirmation of the absurd promises delivered through Gabriel.
I want to be like Mary. I want to keep my brain turned on, to think hard about what is going on in my life and whether it is from God or from someplace else. I also want to be free to trust God. I doubt that Mary could have imagined that magnificent and horrible things that lay ahead of her. By God’s grace, she kept going.