mary: HOW, NOT WHY

a Christmas Devotional

Between now and Christmas, I will be writing some thoughts about Christmas. We’ll begin with a look at Mary, the mother of Jesus.

“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I am a virgin? Luke 1:34

Mary was just 16 years old when the Angel Gabriel visited her. He told her that she was going to have a baby – not just any baby, but THE baby – born not of a man and woman, but of God.

How can a 16 year old be chosen by God to give birth to the savior of the world? It couldn’t have been because of wisdom – how wise is a 16 year old? It couldn’t have been because of maternal experience – she was to be a pregnant virgin. It couldn’t have been because of societal status or family prominence – she was an ordinary commoner.

Mary was chosen, not because she was simple, but because she simply had faith. God chooses and uses people of faith.

What is faith? Some would say that faith is taking God at His Word. Others would say that faith chooses to believe before it sees. Still others identify faith by the questions it asks.

How do we know that Mary had faith?

Faced with her circumstances, Mary could have asked, “Why?” (Pause) “Why now, I am about to be married?” or “Why not later, when no one would question it?” or “Why here and not in a place more suitable?” or “Why this supernatural way and not the natural?” or “Why me and not someone else?

She could have asked any number of “why” questions. But she didn’t. She simply asked, “How?” The Bible records her asking, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34b)

Faith asks, “How, not why”.

When Mary asked the question, she discovered a wonderful truth about God. Whenever He calls us to be His vessel, He gives us the means and the strength to see it through to the end.

God never gives us a ministry assignment in life that we cannot realize. He never gives us a burden that we cannot bear, a trial over which we cannot triumph, an obstacle that we cannot overcome. God never enlists without equipping, He never selects without supplying.

How does He do this? He gives us something… or rather someone who empowers. He gives us the Holy Spirit – the Comforter, the Helper, the Wind of God, the Breath of Heaven. The Bible says that the Breath of Heaven will be with us to enable, encourage and empower.

Mary experienced the Breath of Heaven like no other. She was empowered to carry the Christ Child with dignity and conviction. Her faith allowed her to receive the Breath of Heaven upon her life and her blessed destiny. Her faith allowed her to ask, “How, Not Why?”

Something to think about…