I want to try something new today. I am going to create a hybrid/combination blog. Last year, my friend, Raven shared insights and great questions about the Christmas story that left me pondering. One of the most amazing experiences in my opinion is bouncing ideas with each other. I've merged our thoughts and want to share with you the fruit of pondering together. This all started with her facebook post, so don't think it has to be formal or hard. I'll put her thoughts in quotations so you can hear our different voices.
"I want to understand the difference between Zachariah’s encounter with the angel Gabriel and Mary’s encounter with the same angel.
Gabriel told both of them they would be welcoming important babies into the world. Both questioned out loud how could it be because of their situations.
Zachariah was doubtful because of the old age (and maybe Elisabeth’s menopause?). Mary was concerned because she was a virgin.
Yet Zachariah was held up as an example of unbelief and Mary is one of a willing servant. Why the distinction when they both had questions?
I think I will settle into the thought that Zachariah didn’t believe a child would be possible because of his past experience. In all his time of “knowing” his wife they had no children. So what would make the future different.
In Mary’s case she was ready to believe and questioned instead the mechanics of how it would work.
So if an angel came to me and said, 'You know that thing you’ve been doing forever and never got the result you desired. Well do it again and it’ll work this time and bring glory to the Lord.' But I was like 'are you sure?' That could definitely be an attitude of unbelief.
However Mary was willing. She just needed to know, 'Um, okay ...so, what’s that first step again because I thought it was this?'"
Isn’t it interesting that Zechariah, the priest, who was described as righteous and blameless, who was “randomly” chosen (by lot) to go into alter of incense in the temple was more shocked to actually encounter God than little uneducated Mary was at home? I think Raven is on to something insightful. What if he had just settled into a religious routine, instead of expecting God to be fresh. Which in his defense...God had been silent for 400 years until now.
But Mary...She seems to be more focused on what Gabriel was saying than the fact that he had come to her. And she pondered it. Over and over the one God chose to raise His Son treasured what she learned and pondered it. I think it’s safe to say our choosing to ponder is a big 👍🏽 in Heavenly places
I also love how the angel dropped this HUGE vision of what her Son’s life and calling would be, but she didn’t get caught up in it yet. Instead, she asked about its impact on her purity. I wonder...could she have even been testing the spirits here? The proclamation that her child would be great, son of the most high, given the throne of David, reign over the house of David. His kingdom will never end....this is some tempting stuff. Could she be taking the vision to the light of truth instead of jumping in head first?
This teenager could also be demonstrating that she had learned a valuable lesson from her ancestor Sarah. When God shows up with a plan, it’s best to let him unpack the details. Could this be more than a clarifying question? Could her depth really show here? Her maturity and discernment?
Jesus often asked questions in response to people’s attempts to trap him in sin and in their search for truth. Could He have learned this skill from His mom? How different would our spiritual walk look if we asked good questions that flowed out of a heart that ponders....