Mary’s path to the manger is found in Luke 1:26-56. But it is captured succinctly in her response to the angel’s announcement in vs 38: “I am the Lord’s servant… May it be to me according to your word.” (TNIV)
Mary’s path involves total surrender. God demands her total surrender to this incredible calling to carry the Son of God in her womb and care for him as his mother. Total surrender must be a part of our path as well.
Total surrender is the focus of God’s work of grace in the Christian life called “sanctification,” which essentially means growing us into mature Christ-likeness.
Looking once again at Mary’s words in vs 38, “I am the Lord’s servant… May it be to me according to your word,” she shows remarkable faith and surrender to the call of God on her life.
But we may be inclined to dismiss Mary’s witness by putting her on a different spiritual plane (as we are inclined to do with many saints). Perhaps we object that she must have had a greater disposition toward radical trust. But while she does offer herself quickly and simply, it would be a mistake to let ourselves off the hook.
We need to distinguish between disposition and posture. Disposition is an inclination that is part of a person’s nature. Posture is the way a person chooses to be in relationship to another person or to a situation. Admittedly, we tend to read into the story Mary’s disposition. But Luke seems focused on Mary’s posture before God: humbly acknowledging her identity before him (“I am the Lord’s servant) and her receptivity to his calling upon her life (“May it be to me according to your word”).
It is Mary’s posture of total surrender involved humbly acknowledging her identity before him and being receptive to his calling upon her life. Whether this posture seems easy or difficult to us, this is what our total surrender calls for as well: humble acknowledgement of who we truly are in relationship to God and receptivity to his word, his plan, for us.
Question: Total surrender is big. What is the next small act of surrender for you in your path to the manger of Christ?