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When I started school at the age of six, I quickly learned what it meant to be a teacher’s pet: you get privileges from the teacher, and then soon from the students, too. That’s the picture in my head when I think of being favored. In Luke 1:28, it was recorded, “The angel went to her (Mary) and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’” I always admired Mary’s obedience to God and the role she played in the life of our Lord Jesus–and indirectly to human history–but never the life she lived. It’s a horror to think of the struggle, fear, humiliation, and danger she must have had to go through in order to carry Christ, the Savior, and the heart-brokenness when Christ was crucified. It’s hardly the picture I have in mind of someone being highly favored, as the Scripture says.
In this Christmas season, after being disappointed and saddened by many things that have happened in the world and my own life, the story of Mary has encouraged me to think bigger than what I see. I have to use my spiritual sight, which is directed by faith. Maybe the problems of the world or even my own life require God’s children–like Mary, humble and emptied of herself–to respond, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 1:38) “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37) can come true before our very eyes as well. Are you favored by God?