It’s Christmas time, and at Christmas I like to read over the story of the birth of Jesus again. Every year God highlights something new to me… and this year, something just totally struck a chord with me.
Mary. I realised, Mary and I have a lot in common. This year is going to be my first and last Christmas that I will celebrate as an engaged woman, or betrothed if you like to be posh! When I re-read the Christmas story a few weeks a go, I started to think about how Mary must have felt. I imagined how I would feel if an angel rocked up on my door step and was like “Hey you! I know you’ve never slept with anyone but guess what… you’ve got a bun in the oven! I know it sounds crazy but God can do the impossible and He has chosen you to give birth to His son, who, later on will become the redeemer of you and all the rest of the earth yada yada yada, sound good?” First of all I’d wanna see some ID that this guy was definitely God’s messenger, you can never be too careful with who you let in to your house nowadays!
Once we’d established that he was definitely an angel and he was telling the truth, my thoughts would probably turn to Josh. I’m pretty sure that if I told Josh I was pregnant but I hadn’t been unfaithful, he would struggle to believe it. In fact I’m pretty sure any man would struggle to believe that. I imagine Mary & Joe had a plan, maybe they wanted to wait at least two years before trying for a baby… so they could have some time to “just enjoy being married”. Or maybe Mary was a bit of a career-minded gal, wanting to establish herself in her work before taking some time out to have kids. I don’t know. But I can be sure that having a baby out of wedlock was not in their plan. Luckily for Mary & Joseph, another angel was on hand to show Joe some identification and explain to him that Mary hadn’t been unfaithful or that could have got a bit awkward.
Anyway, before thinking about it like this, I never really thought about how in many ways the birth of Jesus was a bit of a sacrifice for Mary, she could have been killed for getting pregnant before marriage, it could have cost her her relationship with the man that she loved, her reputation, it meant that she had to go through arguably one of the most painful experiences known to man in a dirty, stinking stable but what I find so admirable about Mary is that none of that mattered to her. The Message version of Mary’s Magnificat says this “I’m the most blessed woman on earth!”, I love that. She didn’t see the sacrifice, she saw the blessing. She knew what this baby could cost her and she rejoiced. She was just a normal girl, living a normal life, but God had an extraordinary plan for her because she looked beyond the difficulties and pain and focused on her service to God!
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
Luke 1: 47-55
Merry Christmas & God bless!