Even though I’ve read the Christmas story countless times, something fresh pops out at me when I’m still enough to seek the voice of Jesus.
Mary. This young, pure, innocent girl sometimes seems untouchable to us. Perhaps she’s put on a pedestal because she carried the son of God in her womb for nine months. Maybe we feel like we can’t relate to her because she was the one Jesus called mom.
But looking at her journey a little closer, I think we have MUCH in common with her.
*When the angel announced she’d been chosen as mother of the Messiah, Mary’s world was completely turned upside-down. Her life would never be the same.
Although we’ll never know exactly how she felt, I think we can identify times in our own lives when everything falls part and comes crashing down. Is something coming to mind? Maybe you’re still wading through raw emotions of something recent that has turned your world upside-down.
*What about Joseph? At first he did not believe her story. He couldn’t fathom that his bride-to-be was pregnant. She experienced great disappointment in someone she loved. Although only for a short time, Mary’s pain had to be heart-wrenching.
Do we ever feel this way? Absolutely! Loved ones disappoint us. They break our hearts. Sometimes they betray us, leaving us all alone. A misunderstanding with a friend. A standoff with our spouse. It doesn’t matter if the time frame is short or long–hurtful words cut deep.
*Just when Mary thinks all is calm and everything’s going to be okay, the rug is pulled out from underneath her–again. Like any pregnant woman in her last trimester, she was in that nesting stage–preparing every little detail to welcome Jesus into her world. (If you’re a mom, you know exactly what I’m talking about). But no! Mary’s nesting moments were cut way too short. She had to immediately pack up only her essentials and follow Joseph on a donkey to a far-away town. She was interrupted and majorly inconvenienced.
We all can identify with this one. I for one do not like my plans to be interrupted (just ask my husband). And if I’m really focused on a task, I don’t respond quickly to someone else’s request(just ask my daughter). How about you? What is your response to interruptions and inconveniences? Do our circumstances even scratch the surface of what Mary experienced?
*Mary probably had just enough time to accept the fact that Jesus wouldn’t be born in her hometown of Nazareth. Away from her family. Away from her friends. That was probably a hard pill to swallow! But her world was rocked…..again. Not only was she in a foreign town, but she went into labor. (Umm, Joseph? I think it’s time. Do we have a hotel reservation? ) This poor girl had been through enough already don’t you think? How much more could she take? As Joseph led them into a stinky-dirty stable, what must she have thought? She had to let go of her expectations and accept the fact she was not in control.
Wow. I don’t know about you, but I really struggle at times with expectations. For others. For myself. For God. And it’s hard to loosen the grip of control we crave so deeply as humans. Aren’t we all like Mary here? Don’t we have to constantly come face-to-face with our expectations and ultimately yield control to our creator?
So look at Mary again. Can you relate to her?
Her world was rocked.
Her heart was hurt.
Her life was interrupted.
She was not in control.
We are just like Mary.
If she was just as human as we are, then what made her stand out? What would move God to choose her?
We’re told that Mary had found favor with God. The Greek word for favor is actually grace in most translations. And the thing about grace is that God gives it to the humble. (James 4:6)
Because of her humility, God showered her with grace. Grace that would be able to withstand the turning of her world upside-down. Grace that would cover her wounded heart. Grace that would handle the interruptions. And grace so pure and powerful to recognize that God is in control and we are not.
I can so relate to Mary because she was human. But oh how I long to have her humility! A humility that beckons God’s grace.
My prayer for us is that we would truly find favor with God.
Blessings to you, dear friend!