Once upon a time, a young girl named Mary was getting prepared to marry a carpenter named Joseph to whom she was engaged.
All of us have seen houses where such important events are planned. Many people involve, prepare, participate, and contribute in this ceremony. Events such as marriages are owned by the near and dear as much as the couple themselves.
Any news that comes as a spoiler to these preparations create a huge emotional turmoil among the people closely associated, gossips amidst others who witness, and often a character assassination of the bride or the groom.
How then, would the news of a bride-to-be Mary’s pregnancy be seen, especially after being betrothed to Joseph?
We often admit “He makes all things beautiful in His time”. Looking back at the time chosen for Christ’s birth, we see possibilities of Mary being ill-spoken and may be even stoned to death mistaking her to have violated the laws, a wedding being cancelled, Joseph being accused or Joseph developing a disgust on Mary.
It was during this time, God decided to intervene in Mary’s life. The angel greets her as a highly favored One, breaks the news, and she is indeed puzzled.
The birth of Jesus Christ thus starts with the story of this young girl’s willing heart to surrender and calling herself to be the Lord’s handmaid despite being fully aware of the consequences.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:38
My dear friends in Christ, as we celebrate Christmas let us meditate upon the qualities that beautifully paved way to the birth of our dear Lord Jesus Christ in a time least expected:
1. Being faithful to be favored:
All of us pray for God’s favor in our lives. However, are we able to be like Mary to faithfully hold on to the promise while it could mean even erasing her agenda?
When there was a huge threat of being judged, she wholeheartedly believed that finding favor in the eyes of God meant a blessing.
She realized that even her best plans would keep her in a humble state and what the Lord does will definitely make her blessed, as she confesses “for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed” Luke 1:48.
Mary sees it as a path to a new life, and starts the walk in faith.
2. Being joyful amidst a jeopardy:
The circumstances around were not a bit favorable to Mary’s pregnancy. Who would even believe when someone says “I have conceived by the Holy Spirit”?
There was no such precedence in the history to even consider Mary’s statement a rare possibility. Her life was in jeopardy for some time, but not her soul.
Luke 1:46-55 documents one of the most beautiful worship – the Magnificat, where we evidently see the rejoicing of this young woman’s heart.
She did react as any other normal woman, but for a very short while. The moment she surrendered herself to the will of God, her soul found joy beyond her circumstances. She had a closer connection with the Lord than with the world.
3. Being observant while being obedient:
Mary was a person who could think, who pondered, and was curious. She was very quick to grasp that the angel’s greetings were unusual.
In Luke 1:29 we read, “when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be?” She even questions, how is it possible to bear a child while being a virgin (Luke 1:34).
Yet, she obeyed wholeheartedly, and did not let her intelligence hinder the will of God. She continued to be observant and to treasure everything in her heart.
In Luke 2:29 we read “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart”, and in Luke 2:51 “Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart”.
Perhaps, her observations and meditations of her past walk with the Lord helped her to stay obedient. She was an intellectual person yet she chose to obey.
When we refresh ourselves each Christmas and invite Christ to be born in our hearts, may we introspect ourselves on the following questions:
- Do we have the absolute faith when God reshapes our future, outside our agenda?
- Are we in complete harmony with the Lord who dwells in our hearts and have a rejoicing soul despite the circumstances?
- Do we wholeheartedly obey the meek voice of God despite our own intellectual thoughts?
Mary welcomed Christ with a complete surrender on the very first Christmas day. How about us? Do we completely surrender ourselves with faith, joy, and obedience to welcome Christ in our hearts?