It is surprising that she didn’t need to think about it for longer before saying yes, because becoming pregnant whilst unmarried was going to cause her some real problems in the culture she lived within.
On top of this, who would believe her?
Can you imagine her explaining to her dad she was pregnant but that she really, really, honestly hadn’t had sex with anyone?
In Mary’s culture, sex outside of marriage was forbidden and so if she was found to be pregnant, Joseph (her fiance) wouldn’t marry her and neither would anyone else. Also, her family and friends would reject and turn away from her as well. On top of this, there was no welfare state and women in her society were very much looked down upon as second class citizens. Ultimately if she was unable to marry or stay with her family then she was going to struggle to survive.
Finally and most shockingly, the penalty for adultery was death!
In saying yes, Mary was opening up herself to rejection and perhaps even death but she still says yes to God.
Mary’s willingness to live in disgrace in the eyes of her community is completely inspiring and challenging. Her faith in God in that moment was unwavering to the point that in saying yes she was trusting in Him to miraculously care for her and her son.
How about us?
Are we willing to follow Jesus, only if he doesn’t ask us to do difficult things or are we willing to accept that serving him might come at a cost?
What dream, vision or calling does God want to place in us? Will we allow God to call us to a difficult path and will we follow, even if that calling involves hardship and pain?
I hope that Mary will inspire us to have the confidence to say yes to God as he continues to be at work in this world.
This is a part of a series of short thoughts for advent to help us to consider the events surrounding the birth of Jesus as we prepare ourselves for Christmas. You can look at the other advent reflections by clicking here.
There is a post for each day in December leading up to Christmas day, so check back tomorrow to see what happens next after Mary’s encounter with the angel.
You can read more about Mary’s encounter with the angel in Luke 1 starting at v26.