(I write a lot about courageous teenage girls. Since it’s Christmas, come along as we talk about a real girl who faced down some pretty amazing real problems!)

Four hundred years is a long time. Four hundred years ago, the Mayflower arrived with the pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Four hundred years before that, Genghis Khan was terrorizing his section of the world and the Magna Carta had just been signed.

A lot can happen in four hundred years, but when you’re waiting for something, even four hours can seem like a long time, right? But imagine waiting four hundred years! That’s how much time had passed since Malachi penned the last of the Bible’s Old Testament prophetic books. And still…the long-awaited Messiah–the Savior of the Jewish people, had not come. Under rule of the Roman empire, many had given up hope. Then one day, an angel showed up. No–a REAL angel! And spoke to a teenage girl. The message he gave her would have sent most sensible girls screaming but this one stayed. She listened, and basically, in today’s words, said “Okay. I’ll do it.”

And the world has never been the same. The Christ child came and we’ve celebrated Christmas for over 2000 years. Thanks to a teenage girl! (If you want to read more about Mary and her choices, read Luke, chapter 2, in the Bible.) Try to put yourself in her place. What would you have said to the angel? Being an unwed mother is always hard, but in those days it was nothing short of terrifying. She literally could have been killed. But she had faith in God, stepped forward, and accepted this incredible, impossible mission.

As I write of Lyric, Becca, Shonna and others, I try to remember this real girl and her bravery. This year, as you’re celebrating Christmas, I hope you’ll take the time to think about Mary and how her courage, literally, changed the world.