Advent Series Day 17: on being interrupted

I am not good at being interrupted. And I’m not just talking about matters of speech. I am a person who makes plans, sets goals, and has an agenda. If I am in the middle of a project, I have a difficult time setting that aside. If you come to my house when I am trying to get something done, I might talk to you, but I will be looking at my watch much of the time.

The problem is, sometimes what seems like an interruption could be the best part of my day- if I let it. If I let go of my own plans and trust what God might be doing in that moment.

Mary is a young girl going about a normal day when she is interrupted by an angel.

As it turns out, his message will not only disrupt her day- it will disrupt her entire life. But, it could be the best part of her day if she lets go of her own plans and trusts what God might be doing in that moment.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “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. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.  – Luke 1:26-38

This news upsets everything about Mary’s life. She will be pregnant outside of wedlock. She will likely bring shame on her family in the community. They may disown her. She may lose her future spouse.

Yet, Mary accepts the interruption. She asks how, but she does not add conditions or ask why. Mary says yes. She sees what God is doing and trusts Him.

Many years earlier, God interrupted Moses, and told him to leave shepherding to free God’s people from Egypt,

But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” -Exodus 3:11

Though Moses is considered a great hero of the faith, he took much longer to accept God’s interruption than Mary did.

We can see why God found favor with this young girl.

I wonder how God is trying to interrupt me this Christmas season. I have plans of all I want to get done in the next week. But is there something I am missing? Something I would see if I set my plans aside to notice?

I will likely not get an interruption as noticeable as an angel. And the message will be tiny in comparison. But that only means I should work harder to keep my hands and heart open. A quiet whisper from God should ring loud enough to interrupt my plans.

And I pray when it does, I can have the great faith of Mary who says “I am the Lord’s servant.”