A “Mary” Christmas

The Holiday Challenge (pt 1)

Merry Christmas!

I hope you’ve enjoyed and benefited from this Holiday series this year. If I have made you think, changed the way you view Thanksgiving or Christmas, or simply reminded you of the Reason for the season, than I have succeeded. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

I have one last post to share with you this season. As I study the Christmas story, I’m constantly in awe of the way our Savior came into the world. Again and again, God used ordinary- even despised and poor-people to accomplish His purpose. Take the shepherds, for example. They were social outcasts! The person I want to focus on today, though, is Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Mary was just an ordinary teenage girl (scholars think she was a young teenager, maybe even as young as 12). As was expected in her culture, she was betrothed to an honorable man named Joseph. She likely came from an honorable Jewish family as well. Pretty average for her day and age. But something about Mary caused God to bestow his favor upon her, allowing her to carry His precious Son. Here are a few quick things that I’ve observed from the story of Mary in Luke chapter 1.

  1. Mary was humble. Permeated throughout the text is a gentle, humble submissiveness that Mary seems to always carry with her. She didn’t argue with God when she was visited by the angel (v.38) and she didn’t argue with Joseph when he had to take her to Bethlehem as part of the census (Luke 2:1). She didn’t complain when they were forced to deliver her holy Child in a stable, or when they had no place to lay Him except for a manger. It makes me consider: Would I be as willing as Mary to give up an honorable reputation and  comfortable life to carry God’s Son? Would I be as submissive to my God and to His will?
  2. Mary was righteous and favored by God. In verse 28, the angel says to Mary, “Greetings, O favored one!” and again in verse 30, “…for you have found favor with God.” This passage has always made me wonder “how?”- how did Mary find favor with God? Was it because she was obedient to God? Was it her faith, or the fact that she’s remained pure until marriage? Whatever it was, God was obviously pleased with Mary, and, since I long for God to be pleased with me, I should mold my life to line up with some of the things that characterize a girl who God favored enough to make the mother of His Son.
  3. Mary was empowered by God. Mary wasn’t dumb. She knew what it takes to create a baby and she knew that it was  humanly impossible for her to become pregnant at that point. The key word there is humanly impossible. As the angel points out, “nothing is impossible with God.” In verse 35, the angel informs Mary that “the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy- the Son of God.” Do you realize, friends, that the same Holy Spirit who empowered Mary lives inside each of us who have accepted God’s gift of salvation? The Holy Spirit can and will empower you to do great things for Him if you’ll only submit to God’s will for your life, no matter what the cost. I long to be like Mary in this way.
  4. Mary had a relationship with God. This fact should be obvious if you read through her beautiful song of praise in verses 46-56 in Luke chapter 1. She knows God and loves God with all of her being. Again, an amazing example of what a young lady favored by God should look like.

This Christmas and all throughout the year, let us try to embrace the character qualities of one who is favored by God. More importantly, however, let us embrace the qualities of the One Who is God: the Reason for the season, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Let me leave you with a miraculous thought this Christmas:

The same God who was born in a stable, died on a cross, and was raised from the dead is the God who loves you and offers a relationship with you today.

I pray that you will readily accept the greatest Gift of all this Christmas: Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas!

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