I admire her greatly. Boy, she was tough. Read about her encounter with Gabriel here.
And then I read about Zecharias and Elizabeth. Their story is in the same chapter in Luke. Zecharias sounds tired. Gabriel was so excited to share the news about the coming of John and Jesus. After giving a very long passionate speech to Zecharias, an old man, Zecharias doesn't believe him. Zecharias gives excuses as to why what Gabriel said couldn't be true. I think he'd grown tired of waiting on God and resigned himself to his life as it was.
I see myself in Zecharias and in Mary. There are times I just get tired and resigned to life as it is not as it will be. Or not as it could be. And other times I believe no matter what and see God so clearly.
The Christmas story is full of people just like you and me: full of flaws, full of doubt and full of faith (for Zecharias had had lots of faith because Gabriel came to answer his prayer). God chooses people just like me and just like you to bring salvation to the world.
And He never shows up the way we expect Him to. Often we are like Zecharias. We make excuses as to why something is impossible. God puts a thought or an idea in our minds and we just dismiss it as being ridiculous.
God is often into ridiculous. He is often into extravagant faith, outlandish plans. Look at His plans throughout scripture. The ones we read about were definitely not planned out by humans. We wouldn't be so crazy and illogical. We'd use good common sense. Can't think of any outlandish plans? The parting of the Red Sea, the birth of Isaac, the raising up of Joseph; Daniel and the lions; the valley of dry bones; Jonah and the fish; and the most outlandish offensive one of all --the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Let's see Jesus this Christmas. See Jesus in the lights. See Jesus in the presents. See Jesus in Christmas trees and snow and candy and cake. See Jesus in the children's faces. Hear Jesus in the Christmas songs. See Jesus in your family traditions. See Jesus in the quiet. He's here. He doesn't condemn. He never wastes time telling us Christmas is NOT about such and such. He just is here, present with us. He'll watch a sappy Hallmark movie with you. He'll go Christmas shopping with you. He is here. He is where you are. Invite Him to be part of it. Thank Him for His presence.