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And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His slave.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy.  Luke 2:46

I’ve read this story so many times, but I’m freshly amazed today, watching young Mary take her place on history’s stage.   It’s impossible to understand the size of the “yes” here…especially in this very moment, when she could see generations down the road, knowing she would be called blessed,  but couldn’t see days down the road to know whether Joseph would choose to stay or to go.

When Mary accepts the angel’s proposal, she isn’t just submitting to the will of God, she is submitting to it at the exclusion of all other options and expectations.

It used to be that when I would dream about my future, it was mostly about the things God would add to my life.   I didn’t often imagine the take-aways, but I’m old enough now to realize that usually there are both.   The angel’s visit made the hallowed moment in the stable possible, but it also triggered the harrowing moment at the cross.  The will of God often involves beautiful and brutal.  Good and hard.  Happy and sad.   It would all feel like a dizzying dance, if not for Mary’s final line:

The Mighty One has done great things, and His name is holy.

The holiness of His name and the sovereignty of His will trumps all other winning and losing.    It levels every playing field, fills in every dip in the road and heals every heart.  He doesn’t do good things, only great ones.  So I can rest in the knowledge that the take-aways will turn around and the long nights will bow to fresh mornings.

Holy is His name.

Perfect are His plans.

In this my soul rejoices.

– Bo