The Blessed Virgin Mary
What gets your attention about the Christmas story? Is it the miracle of a conception without human contact? Is it the tenderness in this young woman having her whole life turned upside down with an unexpected pregnancy? Add to these the birth of the babe in a manger in Bethlehem, agreeing with the prophet Micah’s prediction from 700 years earlier, and you have a recipe for awesome Christmas contemplation.
Several prophetic elements weave together proving the historical accuracy of the gospel records. Isaiah said a virgin would conceive. A variety of prophets through thousands of years of history told of things like his tribe of origin, being Judah, and specific family line of Jesse, the father of David. Terrors surrounded his birth as Herod called for the death of all two year-old males. Joseph was warned to take his family into hiding in Egypt for a time, fulfilling Hosea’s statement, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.” Shepherds worshiped the baby, kings from the east brought gifts, Herod’s census led Mary and Joseph back to Bethlehem so Micah’s word could be achieved.
Unique events, fascinating to discover, are beheld. No question this birth has special written all over it. Why else would innumerable multitudes around the world call it “Christmas” and do honor to the birth of Jesus? Yearly tensions between commercial Christmas and the celebration of the Nativity bring out the “Keep Christ in Christmas” slogan. A Christ-centered Christmas is healthy and spiritually inspiring but the demands of our cultural festivities can be overwhelming. So take a moment to reflect on the event and its impact on the young maiden, Mary.
Mary amazes me. So full of grace and highly favored was she that generations have called her blessed. Imagine a teen-aged girl having to process all that would follow this angelic encounter. Shame and honor, agony and joy are some of the contrasts that would become her destiny. Her parents would react. Joseph, her fiancé, would consider separating from her. Her neighbors for years will question her virtue. Yet, Mary answered the angel’s announcement with these words, “Be it unto me according to your word.”
What a statement of surrender and humility as she portrays a “not my will but yours be done” attitude.
This was a work of God and Mary accepted it with the grace that had characterized her life. She didn’t assume special privilege or power. Instead Mary continued to see herself as a humble servant of the Lord. Knowing God wanted to do great things through this Child, Mary yielded.
St. Augustine wrote, “Humility is the foundation of all the virtues…where it does not exist there is no true virtue (only appearances)”. Mary was full of grace, highly favored, a virtuous woman. We are privileged to witness her example in the Christmas story. Let it grab your attention this year and allow God to work His humility into your life.
Pastor Ken teaches at Cornerstone Church located at 1875 Janvier Rd Franklinville, NJ. Join us for Christmas Eve at 7pm and Christmas Day at 10am as we celebrate the birth of the one who brings hope and salvation to all who believe.