Luke 1:38 And Mary said, "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word."
Sometimes there are questions, that we are afraid even to ask - I am not certain why we are afraid - perhaps we reveal too much about who we are - but I'd like to look at one of these questions today - I think we need to look at this question because it can tell us a lot about who we are, and what is important to us. So, can your imagine if Mary had said - No way, I'm not interested, I really had something else in mind for my life and this isn't it.
It might sound outrageous, but its really not that far from who we are - and if you could remember back, back to when you first started to talk, and you discovered the power of that wonderful word - No! No, I don't want to - go to bed, to eat that, to take a bath, any number of things, sometimes we said no, just because it was so much fun. Our parents didn't think it was cute, they didn't think - oh, they are establishing personal space - they saw it as the rebellion that it was, and they taught us that God commands us to honor and obey our parents, whether we want to or not. They didn't say, Oh, its just the terrible twos, they'll grow out of it, they let us know that they had expectations. It was not about fair, its not about freedom, its not about liberty, its about rules and obedience, and its important that we learn such things to cope with life, but even more important - our parents wanted to teach us that God has a plan for our lives. And though we knew our parents loved us, still we rebelled, not just when we were two, but the rebellion flowered again when we were teens.
And so our parents taught us about God, and his plan for our life, and how he sent a Savior to forgive us for our sins. We rebelled against our parents, even though we knew they loved us, we still rebelled - and it should come as no surprise that we also rebelled against God. That is the nature of sin, and we are all sinners. Perhaps there was no angel, no vision, no dream - but we can still know what God wants us to do, and then to go the other way. Mary could have said, No! But she didn't, it wasn't because she had been given all the answers, its not because God had given her a guarantee, Mary said yes, because she believed in God and trusted in his love, his grace, his mercy and his faithfulness.
But the story is not really about Mary, its about how God blessed that faith, and provided for her, it might not always be easy, but it would always be worth while. And it provides a stark contrast, because some 700 years earlier, the Prophet Micah had told Bethlehem that something remarkable would happen there, had told them, and all Judah about the coming of the Savior - they had 700 years to get ready, but when Mary and Joseph would arrive, when the Savior would be born, the record would be that there was no room in the in. That is probably not how they wish to be remembered.
Which brings us back to hear and now, and us today - God still has a plan for our lives. God still shows us our sins, and calls us to repent - and it is important to know that he does this, not because he is just - but because he knows how bad it is to live day after day in guilt, shame and fear, that's why he sent His son to be our Savior, to take away our sins, to give us peace and hope and life. That's why God gives us each day our daily bread, all that we need, and blesses us in so many ways, because he loves us, and because he has a really good plan for our lives, a good plan for each and every day - and he wants us to share this with us, so that our lives can have meaning and purpose, and so that our days can be filled with joy and fulfillment.
That's why we have this story, about Mary, and how she said yes to God's plan for her life, to encourage us, to repent of our rebellion, and to say Yes to God's plan for our lives, so that we too can find peace in the forgiveness that comes to us in our Savior.