Christmas is coming, it is only around the corner. I feel Christmas is coming, and it is only around the corner. I want to celebrate this season with joy and perhaps with a more profound sense of gratitude and wonder. There is so much fear, unknowns that can overwhelm us. That is why I love to go and listen, imagine and learn from someone who knew so well the meaning of being overwhelmed.
I want to share a few impressions about Mary, the Mother of our Lord Jesus. Of course, Jesus, too, had a mother and a father. It is a fact that Jesus spent more with his mother than with his father. Although his earthly father, Joseph, is mentioned in the Gospel during the early days of Jesus’ life, it is only when Jesus was dying on the Cross that he asked John to take care of his mother, a loving act from a dying son.
A mother’s devotion to God
What can we learn from Mary’s devotion to God? the angel of the Lord appeared to her with the most important news that has been told from heaven to earth, that the Saviour of the world, the Son of God, will come and Mary will be pregnant and carrying the Son of God for nine months.
Mary asks the angel, How will this be since I am a virgin? The angel told her that the Holy Spirit will come upon her, and the power of the Highest will overshadow her so that the Holy One of God will be called the Son of God. He further reassured her that her relative Elizabeth was also pregnant in her old age, for nothing is impossible with God.
What an encounter!
How will this be? Mary asked, and this is a question of much faith and not of doubts. Mary is more concerned with practicalities than doubting the angel’s message. Mary knew that the Messiah would come and rule over the nations. Her concern was that she was a virgin; that’s why the angel explained God’s plan to her. Her devotion was through her obedience.
I am the Lord’s Servant
This is more evident in Mary’s response, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.” (Luke 1.38 NIV). I like what Michel Guinness says about Mary’s response: “Mary is satisfied – and that is extraordinary in itself. She has just been handed the humiliation of an illicit pregnancy, disgrace for the family and the possible loss of the man she hopes to marry. But further, there doesn’t appear to be any prolonged heart-searching. Instead, it takes no more than a moment to yield her autonomy, ambition, and future to God. This is simply the culmination of a lifetime of surrender” – “I am the Lord’s servant”.
My God My Saviour
In verses Luke 1:46-47, Mary burst into a beautiful song of praise to God. In this song, we see something of her devotion to God. She praises God like this:
“And Mary said:”My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” (Luke 1.46-47 NIV). She points to her God as her Saviour. Why? How is it that although the Saviour is not yet born, Mary’s song declares that salvation has come? God’s choice and God’s rule have come further away from pride and richness. Mary rejoices as God has set his saving work in motion.
A mother’s love
What must not be forgotten is that Mary not only bore Jesus but also mothered Him for thirty years. Thus from childhood to manhood, she did everything a devoted mother could do for the Son whom she knew was no ordinary Man.
There were some things Mary was not able to give her Son. She could not surround Him with wealth. When presented the infant in the Temple, all she could offer as a gift was a pair of pigeons—the offering of the very poor. But she gave her Son gifts of infinitely more value than secular and material advantages.
What did she give Him?
LIFE. From the human angle, she gave Him life, and He became one of her bones, flesh of her flesh.
HOME. Then, along with Joseph, she gave Jesus a home, mutual trust, love, and sympathetic understanding.
GOD’S PRESENCE. Another quality Jesus grew to appreciate in His mother was the sense of the presence of God. Gabriel said to Mary, “The Lord is with you”, and this divine awareness surrounded the holy child Jesus. To Mary, God was not far off or uninterested.
OBEDIENCE. Obedience, a trait prominent in Mary’s own life, was another quality she trained her Son. Mary said yes to God’s will, and her holy child grew up not only obedient to Mary and Joseph Luke 2:51 but also to His heavenly Father, whose will was His delight.
Mary must have been close to Jesus, especially after joseph died. The firstborn took on the family business and became the breadwinner. Jesus became her companion and confidant. Yet from his conception, Mary has always known that this particular child cannot be hers to hold forever.
When Jesus ministry begins, her quiet, respectful Son mixes with all sorts of people. But, then, she loves as he loves and watches his Son become the Son, the Saviour.
Mary, there is so much more to learn from her, her uniqueness, fragility, and face value faith, graciousness and obedience.