On the plate in front of me was a generous helping of chicken and waffles. The sweet aroma of syrup and fried chicken filled the space. It was the kind of meal that you notice no one was talking for several minutes because everyone was devouring their food.
Sitting around me was a group of pastors and ministry creatives from Jackson and from across the country. We had gathered at the Fossores Chapter House, a creative ministry incubator, to dream and imagine how God might shape our ministries. But for a moment each of us was just thankful for the chicken and waffles. They were amazing. But they weren’t a random meal choice, it was intentional.
That day, March 25, is a special day to many Christians who celebrate it as anniversary of the Angel Gabriel announcing to Mary the conception of the Lord – she would bear a child that would change the world, and her world. It’s a day to reflect and celebrate the faithfulness of God through the incarnation, and the faithfulness of God’s servant to receive and accept this blessing and burden.
Christians call this day by different names, the Feast of the Annunciation, the Feast of the Incarnation, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, Christ’s Conception, and more. But the name for the holiday that I’m most thankful for is thanks to a Swedish pun. The Swedes began celebrating Vårfrudagen (“Our Lady’s Day”) with waffles calling it Våffeldagen (Waffle Day). Our table enjoyed the sweet waffles and reflected on the annunciation.
It’s a lot of responsibility to raise any child. Add to that the responsibility to raise Jesus – no pressure! When Gabriel appeared to Mary and called her blessed, was blessed how she felt? Luke tells us Mary was confused by it all.
When the angel explained that she will be pregnant, Mary asks a very practical question: “umm, how? I’m a virgin.” Gabriel responds by describing the power of God and the Holy Spirit, saying “for nothing will be impossible with God.”
Mary had plenty of questions. She probably could barely only begin to imagine the judgments her friends and family might make about her. What would her reputation be? What opportunities would be forever shifted for her? How would her body be forever reshaped?
Despite all those concerns, Mary answers Gabriel: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
Even though March 25 might not have been an important day in our church upbringing, it’s a beautiful day to consider whether we could spiritually have the commitment that Mary portrayed that day.
Regardless of your gender, we’re all invited to birth Christ inside of us, to accept Christ’s transformative life and power to take root in us and reshape our body, our mind, and our spirit. Maybe there’s been a time in your life you’ve said yes to that process, but how many days do you return to God and reclaim that yes.
“Regardless of your gender, we’re all invited to birth Christ inside of us, to accept Christ’s transformative life and power to take root in us and reshape our body, our mind, and our spirit.”
Would you allow Christ to grow in you – no matter the cost to your reputation? Would you allow others to look down on you, to think less of you, to question you? Are the labor pains of Christ’s transformation worth enduring for the beauty of the life that will follow?
At the dinner table, filled with chicken and waffles, we were invited to write out one question to God. If you were like Mary, and an angel visited you and described God’s invitation to your life, what question would you ask? God, will it be worth it? Father, can I do this? Lord, am I able?
We flipped the card over and wrote one sentence of affirmation to God. How might you say yes to God today? Lord, I will follow you even if I lose a friendship. God, I will do your work despite the struggle.
This Easter, while we celebrate the faithfulness of Christ and the life that he offers, perhaps you can ask yourself whether you’re willing to bear the Christ inside you, transforming you from the inside out. What’s your response to God’s invitation for abundant life?
Maybe you’ve found yourself waffling between faithfulness and wandering from God. Today, God comes calling again. May we be like Mary – “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
This article appears in the April-May 2022 issue of the FBCJXN Magazine. If you’d like to sign up to receive a copy of our magazine in print or digitally, you can subscribe online.