A little, horrifying Christmas prayer

I’ve been reading the Christmas story (Luke 1:5 – 2:40) as often as I can this season. Which has only been a few times.

I’ve been hung up, as I have been in Christmases past, on this Gabriel & Mary conversation that ends with Mary’s brilliant, simple, horrifying prayer in Luke 1:38:


“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

(If you need a little refresher, read Luke 1:26-38 for the full story.) In short, God through Gabriel was asking Mary to:

  1. look back on the future and trust Him: “I’m up to another out-of-the-box thing. Yes, God is becoming a human in a virgin’s uterus?! (My friend Kelsey pointed out to me yesterday that in ancient times it wasn’t particularly amazing for a human to become a god, but it was blasphemously unbelievably unthinkable for God to become a human.) Mary, will you look back at My history and trust Me?”
  2. yield her present life to Him: “You’re going to have morning sickness and the self-sacrificing gift of motherhood. But those will be the easy things compared to the misunderstandings, broken relationships, and cultural rejection from getting pregnant out of wedlock. It will feel sometimes like I’ve ruined your life. Mary, will you still let Me have My way with your life?”
  3. move forward into the future depending on Him: “The days ahead will not all be easily joyful. Much pain and suffering will ensue, in ways you can’t even imagine in this moment. (In fact, you will do what is most despicable for every parent: you will bury your child.) Mary, will you lean on Me for all your needs, as they come one by one?”

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Amen, Mary. Amen. You’re crazy.


2 responses to “A little, horrifying Christmas prayer”

  1. Yep, she was amazing. I realize I often add a “but” to that prayer when I pray–“Let it be to me, but…” Yes, I’ll take a package of Mary’s trust under my tree this Christmas! Thanks, Joc.

    1. Yes, Kathy, yes! Thanks for sharing. Me too. And how funny: What struck me was how plain and un-amazing Mary was! Love that we saw the opposite thing in the same light. 🙂