2000 years ago, a young, teenaged, Jewish girl was visited by an angel and told that, although she wasn't married and hadn't yet slept with anyone, she would bear a son. The name of her son would be Jesus and he would save his people. He would be the one to sit on David's throne and rule forever. The girl's name was Mary.
For some strange reason, after the angel told Mary that she would be pregnant, she didn't hear much else that he said. She couldn't imagine what life would be like in a society that did not hold women in high esteem, especially if it was perceived that she had become pregnant after cheating on her husband or even sleeping with her husband before they had officially been married. What would the people think, what would they say, could she bear the stares and the whispers that would inevitably ensue once word began to spread? After all, in a small place like Galilee, the word would spread like wildfire.
But the angel told Mary not to be afraid and that her baby would be from the Holy Spirit. He told her 6 words that would change her life, and ours. He said, "For nothing is impossible with God." That was enough for Mary to believe. Her husband was visited by an angel as well, and he was convinced that this baby was from the Holy Spirit and there was no funny business going on with his fiancé.
In the brief moments after Mary received her startling news, she was guilty of what so many of us are guilty of when God calls us to something, she saw the impossibility of the situation. What Mary saw was how unthinkable and impossible her pregnancy could be, not the fact that God was the one controlling the details. But over and over in Scripture, we see God accomplish the impossible and unthinkable through the improbable and unimaginable. We see God call out ordinary people to be part of His story to accomplish His plan, and they always find excuses as to why He should choose someone else.
Moses stood in front of a burning bush that wasn't consumed and still told God that he couldn't speak. 10 Israelite spies came back from the Promised Land having only seen the impossibility of the situation, there were giants in the land that they couldn't defeat, how could they really take this land? Over and over again, if we only see situations from our own perspective without a God's eye view, we will always come up short. We will only see our weakness and the impossibility if we try to accomplish it in our own strength.
The Apostle Paul was familiar with weakness. In fact, he had asked God to take away his weakness multiple times, but God's word to him should be an encouragement to us. He said, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Paul understood that God's power would be made perfect and accomplish the impossible through his own weakness. Mary came to that same conclusion. In fact, if you read further on in Luke 1, you begin to see the transformation in her as she magnifies the Lord through her Magnificat.
While there are some that elevate Mary above others because of how the Lord uses her, both Luke 1:28 and 30 say that Mary was favored by God. But the Greek word from which "favored" is derived in verse 28 and the word translated "favor" in verse 30 actually means "grace." God extended grace to Mary for her to accomplish what she accomplished, and He offers that same grace to us, it's just a question of whether or not we will accept it.
God is calling us to accomplish great things, but we can't do it without him. He wants to accomplish impossible things through improbable ways. His ways are not our ways and what might not work out on paper in our minds is certainly possible in the hands of the Creator. God wants us to dream dreams that are big enough that only He can accomplish them. In fact, if the dreams we dream are big enough that we think we can accomplish them, we're probably not dreaming big enough.
This Advent season is a time where we reflect on the impossible accomplished through the improbable. God's "true" tall tale was accomplished and the world will never be the same. God is still in the business of accomplishing the impossible, are we willing to allow Him to accomplish it through us, as improbable and unthinkable as it might seem?