During the month of December I have the honor of sharing a beautiful piece of writing with you. A dear friend in ministry, Audrey McCormick, wrote this story a few years ago. She read part of it at a church service recently and I knew I had to share it with you. I thought I would share it to celebrate this Advent season – as we prepare to remember the birth of Jesus this Christmas time.
However much I love Christmas, with all the decorations, baking, Christmas parties, songs, dressing up and delicious food, Christmas to me is about so much more. It is a time to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For many of you this is just a ‘nice story’ that gets mixed in with all the other celebrations. For me and Captain America it is a special birthday, one like no other. It is a ‘story’ full of miracles, of prophecies fulfilled, one that demands the response of a relationship with a real man, who lived and walked upon this earth in order that we could live our life to the fullest and fulfill our destiny. It is a story of truth.
So read on, think on these words, let them wash over you and fill your soul
Overshadowed – Part Two
Mary submitted herself to the work of God. She chose to believe in the thing that was unseen. Her response brings tears to my eyes. After the angel reassured that with God nothing is impossible, Mary accepted the proposal of His love. Knowing the reproach that would come upon her, and the pain that would be set before her, she agreed with words that displayed her choice to be bound eternally to the purpose of the Almighty, “Behold, the bond slave of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38).” And after the words left her mouth the angel departed from her. Alone, she sat and became acquainted with the new found Presence of the Almighty – the Father of her Son. She must have been filled with a sense of wonder. Exposed under the eyes of God, and filled with the purpose of holding within her skin the fullness of His Love, she must have remained on her knees in silence. She must have been contemplating the hands of God that were now holding her, and the power of the Highest that was overshadowing her. In the center of His heart she remained while pieces of Him became intertwined with pieces of her. And in this place she conceived the Son of the Highest who would be named Jesus.
The Hidden God, the Hidden King was living deep within. He was hiding in her, sharing her breath and feeling her thoughts. Listening to the muffled sound of her voice and being nourished by her blood, the Redeeming King could hear her sing. Stillness was her song as God held her in His hands. In His embrace she lived because within her was the Holy Seed, that for so long He yearned to give. And the prophecies became reality as the Tender Shoot began to grow (Isaiah 53:2). Redemption for His dying people lived inside of her, His chosen Bride, His Beloved.
I wonder if she understood the way that He would live and the way that He would die, and that there would be a woman like me held captive by the hands of Death if not for His hands of love. Such a mystery she held within. It was the very thing for which all of creation had been waiting. The Words of God must have danced around her like a symphony before landing to become flesh inside of her womb. He was built with the Word of God and filled with grace and truth (John 1:14). In her waiting she must have felt the prophecies speaking.
Then a shoot will spring forth from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from His roots will bear fruit, and the Spirit of the Lord will rest upon Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord… and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked (IS. 11:1-5). He will be high and lifted up… He will be marred more than any, and His form more than any of the sons of man; so shall He sprinkle many nations (IS. 52:14-15). Wounded for our transgressions, the chastisement for our peace is upon Him and by His stripes we are healed (IS. 53:5). He will stand as a banner… and His resting place will be glorious (IS. 11:10). In that day a fountain will be opened… (Zech. 13:1). The thirsty will joyously draw water from the wells of Salvation (IS. 12:3). His people will be like a watered garden, and they shall never languish again (IS. 45:15). He will come with a strong hand… (IS. 40:10). Like a shepherd He will tend His flock; in His arm He will gather the lambs, and carry them in His bosom… (IS. 40:11).
The breathing Words of God must have been revealing the story to her as the mystery remained yet hidden. Under the weight of His purpose, she laid down her life as the Words of God were actively cutting, dividing and exposing (Hebrews 4:12). It was in this process that the tender shoot was given room to grow – a root out of her dry ground (Isaiah 53:2).
Like Mary, I have chosen to surrender as the bond slave of the Lord. His purpose grows within me as His Shadow holds me still. He examines my heart and He presses His hands against the places that must die so that He may live. Love surrounds me and the depths are unending. I give Him the torn pieces of my heart so that they can be sewn into Him. We become intertwined and His life becomes mine. Mary’s ability to lose reputation, and forfeit life as she knew it, paved the way for the Redeeming King. Could it be that the same process is required of me? The choice to surrender, and to trust the Almighty, brought pain but she was willing. The gift she received was the honor of holding the fullness of God within and the beauty of knowing Jesus more intimately than any other. She gave her life so that He could live. I have come to find that if I want to see Him living, I must be dying daily. Because, as my life transforms into something that is lived for Him, rather than me, I begin to know His desires and needs, and I learn the character of this King. I have learned that if I want to see His eyes, I must first surrender mine. If I want to touch Him I must first give Him my hands. In selfless love, He will take all of me, and in return I will receive the greatest gift— all of Him.