How Can This Be?

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As I read the Christmas story afresh this year, two questions reverberate within me.


“How shall I know?” and “How can this be?”


Zachariah, an elderly priest asked the first (Luke 1:18).


Mary, a simple, teenaged girl, the second (Luke 1:34).


Obviously Zachariah was a man of prayer for the angel assured him, “Your petition has been heard” (Luke 1:13). Not only was seeing an angel a rare event, even entering into the Holy of Holies was a once in a lifetime experience for him (Luke 1:5,8). But, even the most religious can respond with aged skepticism. He stumbled over the details and over-thought the message. “How shall I know?” he questioned. The ever present “I” eclipsed his view of God.


Mary, on the other hand, had only youth and a child-like faith on her side. She couldn’t have imagined the pending pain that would pierce her soul (Luke 2:35). But she didn’t ask to know. Nor did the question point as to how she herself would accomplish it. She only asked to be.


Zachariah knew much. Mary believed much.


Wouldn’t you love to know that even as you age, you continue to cherish a tenderness to trust within your heart?


When it comes to my God, may we live in the awe-inspired wonder of an adolescent, rather than the weathered doubt of the experienced. May we have contentment in being more rather than dissatisfaction in knowing more. May our focus be upward to God, rather than inward to self.


May our words be an amazed “how can You be”, rather than a suspicious “how can I know?”


May it be done to us according to our faith and not according to our doubt. Even so, Lord Jesus come.