Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas Character Spotlight: Mary

In the few weeks leading up to Christmas, let’s take a step back from the decorating, shopping, and commercialism, and focus on the true meaning of Christmas - the Bethlehem story. One person at a time, we’ll go through the story in a character-study format, and try to put ourselves in the shoes of those individuals that were there on that first Christmas. Want to do some study for yourself? Here is the schedule:
November 29: Joseph
December 4: Mary
December 6: Gabriel
December 11: Shepherds
December 13: Wise men
December 19: Herod
December 24: Jesus
Today's character: Mary, mother of Jesus


Mary. There is so much I could say about this young girl, chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah. Her story fascinates me. Let’s try to put ourselves in her shoes for a few minutes. How did she feel when the angel appeared unto her? What was it like to know that not only are you highly favoured of God {Luke 1:28} but you are carrying a child, though it is humanly impossible.? Yes, her story is enough to make us all sit back and wonder.

There are several things to notice, however, that are easy to forget when pondering Mary:

She was a normal human lady. We are told she could have been quite young, even a young teen girl, when the news came that she was expecting a baby. She probably had morning sickness. She experienced pain during childbirth. She may have had to work for their very survival, as her and Joseph were just poor, simple people. She was not a lady of supernatural powers that had an easy life because she was highly favoured of God.

She was misunderstood. The Bible doesn’t give too may specifics, but when the news came that she was with child, I am sure her situation was gravely misunderstood. Perhaps the reason she hurried to Elizabeth’s house was because no one understood, no one would believe her story. Perhaps even her own parents forsook her because of what she had supposedly done. I imagine she endured great heartache during this time, all for the sake of bringing the Saviour into the world.

She was a sinner. While she birthed and raised a Perfect Son, she herself was not perfect. She may have wronged Jesus, or acted in anger as a human parent.

She sacrificed. She endured a long, arduous journey to Bethlehem, while pregnant, only to give birth in a stable. She then had to flee to Egypt with her little son to protect Him. During His early life, He was often misunderstood, even by her and Joseph. {Luke 2:48-49} Raising Him probably was not as it easy as it would seem - imagine the public ridicule if your son was literally perfect? She had to watch her Son suffer and die - yes, a sword often pierced her heart. {Luke 2:35}

I often wish that God had chosen to tell us more about this poor, young girl. I believe, however, that He did not do so for a reason - so we would not put her in a higher place than we ought. She was not, and is not, in a place to be worshipped, but we can still learn from her life and her willingness to be used by God, even though it was very difficult.

One of my favourite passages concerning Mary is her Magnificant, her song of praise to the Lord after Elizabeth confirms her own pregnancy. You can find it in Luke 1:46-55. {I believe Mary knew Old Testament Scripture, and was echoing Hannah’s song in I Samuel 2:1-10. Both are beautiful songs of praise to God!}

Luke 1:37 sums up the entire account. The angel has just finished explaining to Mary what will take place, and confirming the promise by telling of Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy. Gabriel declares, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.”

Nothing shall be impossible. Not barrenness, as was Elizabeth’s case. Not singleness, as was Mary’s status. Nothing. The God of the impossible is able to break down our human barriers and do above and beyond what we could ask or think. With Mary, I will magnify the Lord!

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