She didn't expect to end up sixteen, unmarried, and pregnant.
But she was.
Mary may have been blessed among women, but that blessing did not come with ease or confidence in her circumstances.
Nothing, absolutely nothing, turned out the way she imagined it would.
She did not end up a common Nazareth housewife.
She did not end up safe all her years in a home that her industrious carpenter husband built for her.
She did not end up safe in her own bed surrounded by her mother and other women when her baby came.
She did not end up with a lap full of frolicking, carefree children who, in their turn, would bring her sweet smelling grandchildren.
Her firstborn son did not outlive her--at least not the way she thought they would.
But what did she have to say about it?
My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.--Luke 1:46-7
In other words,
Thank you, God, for this confusion.
Thank you for this embarrassment.
Thank you for all the derision and doubt.
Thank you, too, for all the eventual pain.
In other words, Mary knew.
She thanked God for the life He'd ordained for her, whatever it included.
And why? Because in it, she knew she would find Him.
Not just the baby she would someday hold in her arms.
Not just the sweet child.
Not just the man who became her Lord.
But all of it.
God the Father who made and planned for her.
God the Spirit who spoke to her.
God the Son who grew in her, was born from her, and saved her.
Mary rejoiced in God. All the time.
She saw Him in every work, every word.
She didn't have to understand.
That is why we hail her, as did the angel, and acknowledge that she is full of grace.
Grace--where God meets His creation, and where our rejoicing proves we see Him there.