She was pregnant. And she believed it. She couldn’t feel the baby move yet. She didn’t have a baby bump either. She hadn’t even been with a man yet.
But God told her that she would be with child, and she believed it.
She humbly told the angel, “May it be to me as you have said.”
Then the fullness of God, his exact representation, was formed in her.
Mary’s due date took precedence over her wedding date. So she went to visit her dear relative Elizabeth, who was also pregnant with a miracle. Elizabeth was already six months and showing, so there was no room for doubt. She knew what the Lord had done for her and Zechariah, even in their old age.
But Mary was unwed. And young. Elizabeth had no reason to think that Mary was with child. So the Holy Spirit nudged Elizabeth’s baby to give a strong kick for convincing, and the Spirit confirmed in Elizabeth’s heart that there was a miracle growing in Mary’s womb too.
Mary barely had a chance to say hello to Elizabeth before the two of them were rejoicing together. The world would be a different place because of the life growing in their wombs. What a relief it was for Mary to find someone who believed with her.
Elizabeth knew. She knew that the Messiah they had been waiting for was growing in young Mary’s womb. She also knew that Mary had great faith in order for such a miracle to occur.
Elizabeth and Zechariah had a hard enough time believing their own miracle. Their house was quiet for the last 6 months because Zechariah’s disbelief left him speechless during Elizabeth’s pregnancy. She knew how significant it was that Mary believed God’s promise—as unbelievable as it was.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Elizabeth exclaimed in a louder voice than Mary expected.
Yes, Mary believed. She believed Gabriel’s words when he told her that she would give birth to God’s son. She believed that God’s son would grow in her womb, that he would grow up in her family and that his mercy would bless all generations.
What about you? Would you have believed? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself this week.
We’re not in the same conversation that Mary had with Gabriel, but God has spoken some amazing promises to us too.
It’s nearly as unbelievable as a virgin birth that Jesus says he will live in us. He promises to abide in us through his Spirit and transform us to be just like him.
Do you believe that? Do you live like you believe it?
I wonder if Mary had days that she wondered if Jesus was really growing inside of her–those days before he made his presence known with his elbow pushing across her abdomen.
I admit that there are times that I wonder. I wonder how it can be true that the fullness of God dwells in my heart. Sometimes I doubt that the same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead raises me to new life, daily. And there are times that the formation of Christ in me seems about as unbelievable as God’s baby growing in Mary’s womb.
But the story of incarnation isn’t limited to what happened in Bethlehem a few centuries ago. It’s a story that keeps happening. Today.
Jesus’ birth invites us to believe the miracle of Jesus’ formation in each of our lives. Immanuel, God with us.
Mary’s belief invites us to believe.
As you marvel at the story of Jesus’ birth this season, think about God’s promises and consider these questions…
- Do you believe God’s promises to you today?
- Do you live like you believe it? How would you live differently if you truly believed?
- Do you have someone in your life like Elizabeth who can affirm your beliefs and encourage you to live into them?
Mary left Elizabeth’s house about the time that Elizabeth was ready to give birth. She was three months pregnant, probably still waiting to feel the first movement of life in her womb.
But she believed. And her life was never the same again.
I pray that Mary’s story encourages you to believe God’s promises in your life. And I pray that we will join in unison with Mary’s response to God,
“May it be to me as you have said.” Luke 1:38