Mary, the mother of Jesus, had a unique experience. She is the most celebrated woman of all time—but there’s plenty of encouragement we can gain from her story.

One day, an angel comes to Mary with the most incredible announcement:

“Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son… The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”  (Luke 1:30,35)

Mary would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Not only that, but the child conceived in her would be none other than the Son of God, who would be born in order that He might establish an eternal kingdom. Now that’s quite a mind-blowing bit of information for a humble, young teenager living in a little country town like Nazareth!

It’s understandable that Mary should ask, “How can this possibly happen, since I’m a virgin?” She is told that this would be a work of the Holy Spirit. And she says, in effect, “All right, I’m the Lord’s servant. I’m open to what God wants to do with me. May all that You have said be fulfilled in my life.”

We are told later in the midst of this, Mary quietly treasured up in her heart all that was happening. Young Mary learned to be still, to listen, and to observe. She learned to dig past surface appearances and to root her mind in the deeper spiritual realities. She received from the Lord great and wonderful promises. She pondered them, treasured them, and prayed about them. She wanted to make sure that she understood them fully. She took the time to live in light of them.

Mary’s praise, through eyes of faith, gave her insight into God’s redemptive work in the wider world of proud rulers and humble servants, of rich and poor, and of Abraham and his descendants forever. When we trust God, Who holds all futures in His hands, He sometimes gives us a glimpse into His divine purposes on earth—a vision that would otherwise remain hidden from our eyes. This girl in her early teens already had a broader mind and clearer perspective than most people gain in an entire lifetime. God entrusted the Christ child to the care of this humble peasant girl who submitted her life to Him.

Mary’s humble submission to God marks out for us a challenging pattern to follow. She gave up all claims to her own body, her own reputation, and her own future. With such faith, God will do great things, for nothing is impossible with Him. At this Christmas season and throughout our lives, may we, like Mary, say to our Lord, “I am Your servant. May Your will be done in my life.”