Me versus We

toa-heftiba-399392The four-year-old little Saharawi girl had just opened her gift from the American visitors:  a pretty baby doll wearing a blue dress.  With a squeal, she immediately darted out of the tent as fast as her little legs could take her, waving her new doll overhead.  “Look what WE got!!!!   Look what WE got!”  she announced to all her little neighborhood friends.  They came from every neighboring tent, all excited to touch and hold this treasure from a far-away land.

There was no fighting, no possessiveness.

There was only joy.

Joy to be shared by all.

Winter Warmth

dmitry-sovyak-454068-unsplashCharcoal embers glow in the blackened fire pot.  Wrapped in thick blankets and jackets, the circle of friends huddle close on an old worn rug, sharing the warmth this cold desert night.  Their hands cup the little glasses of hot, sweet tea with its added milk and spices. Sweet comfort.  It’s hardly enough to stave off the cold of the desert, but the gentle conversation, chuckles, and stories create a cushion of warmth among friends this dark winter’s night.  A million stars sparkle overhead…a vast umbrella arching above the sea of tents.

These refugees find warmth in one another.

Stranger in the House 

Part 3

36 “Elizabeth, your relative, is six months pregnant with a son in her old age.

People said she couldn’t have a child.

37 But nothing is impossible for God.”

38 Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you’ve said happen to me.”

Then the angel left her.”


The Stranger (Angel) has been interacting with young Mary, giving her the news that her entire life was about to change, and a Path was being laid for her that no other human being had ever walked. Patience and gentleness was extended to this young teenager as they spoke together in her family’s home.  The Stranger had given her a brief glimpse of who this Child would be . . . in her body, her life, in her world, in history, and in the entire story of Eternity.  To say it’s a lot for a young girl to take in is the gravest understatement ever.

She would have to agree to everything the Stranger had told her.  It would be her choice.  Nothing would be forced upon her.  I wonder how many other young women had been approached with this invitation.  Had others encountered this Stranger, but been unwilling to hear?  Unwilling to consider the Proposal?   Unwilling to say “Yes”?  We don’t know….nothing is written of such a story.  But God has always used humans to carry out His Plans.   Some have said “Yes,” and we have all those stories to read in His Book.  How many were invited to join Him in His Plans, but knowingly or unknowingly refused to say, “Yes.  I will.”?

Mary did say yes.  She had no idea of the repercussions of that choice which would echo throughout time and all of history.

In this Story, the Stranger had one more thing to tell Mary:

36 “Elizabeth, your relative, is six months pregnant with a son in her old age.

People said she couldn’t have a child.

37 But nothing is impossible for God.”

What a Gift this was to Mary!   Her relative, Elizabeth, was six months ahead with her own miracle baby….who would be called John the Baptist.  Elizabeth was someone she knew.  Someone she trusted.  Someone her family would trust.

God, Who’s Timing is always perfect, had brought into being another child, one who would be among the greatest Prophets of God in all of history.  A miracle conception.  A miracle birth.  A Divinely-orchestrated Destiny that would be interwoven with the life of Jesus throughout His time on earth.

Mary would have many months with Elizabeth….watching the phases of pregnancy that she would soon experience, in a safe, loving environment. It would be away from the gossip and condemnation of the townspeople of Nazareth who knew Mary and that she was not yet married.

The babies would be cousins, both carrying the Message of God….John’s message focusing on the One Who would make it possible to know and be reconciled to God….Jesus being the Perfect Picture of God and the Great Sacrifice to make it possible for mankind to find forgiveness from sin and reconciliation with God.

As young Mary spent her days with Elizabeth, all those conversations that Mary may have not been able to have with her own mother were safely shared with Elizabeth.  And all the experiences of each stage of pregnancy were shared together, including Elizabeth giving birth and those critical first weeks/months as a new mother. Mary had a close view of Elizabeth’s “new mother” experiences.  And Mary lived under the shelter and protection that Zechariah and Elizabeth provided.

Mary watched a miracle baby and his mother and father for 6 months, before returning home to Nazareth and all the life-changing experiences that lay ahead.  She could not have known that her own baby would be born in a dirty animal stall, in a strange town and only her new husband with her, not her mother.  Then their flight to Egypt through the desert with their baby boy.  Mary had learned what to expect in caring for a new baby through her time with Elizabeth.

God alone knew what was ahead for that young family.  He had it covered.  Not in a way that would have been humanly preferred nor planned.  But covered, nonetheless.

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How willing are we… am I… to say “yes” to something God is asking of me?  Without the full plan, the details, the purpose, strategy, financial impact, the “what will people think” considerations all thought through?  Though those things are valid, God does not seem to work on those terms.    I need  to simply trust that HE has all of that worked out, and it’s my most important role to put my eyes on Him, slip my hand into His, and say, “Yes.  I will.  I will trust You.”