My three year old cracks me up. We were leaving church and she had a coloring page she worked on in Sunday School over the angel coming to Mary to tell her she was going to have a baby. I’m driving and I hear her making the characters on her paper talk to each other.
In a deep voice she says “Mary….you will have a baby and he’s going to be baby Jesus”
Then in a high pitch girly voice, “then Mary said NOOOOOOOO!”
I couldn’t help but laugh. It was so sweet to hear her own opinion of the story and twist on it. But then I thought….man, I’m sure that if I was Mary….that would have been my reaction, too.
We have all heard the story. Well most of us in America. Even those who don’t believe in the story, have heard it. The jist of it is Mary was a virgin and a woman of great virtue. She was arranged to be married to Joseph but was pregnant with God’s son. They were going to Bethlehem to pay a tax and she went into labor, no one had room for them, so they found a manger and had baby Jesus. This is all we know as the Christmas story.
But as my daughter was telling her version of the story, I can’t help but think about the faith Mary must have had. We learn that she is a woman of great virtue. Now please keep in mind, she still made mistakes, wasn’t perfect, and definitely was not sinless…only Jesus was sinless. BUT, she was strong in her faith and made quite the impression on God cause He chose her. I find it even hard to describe her as a woman, mainly cause she was really just a girl. We don’t know her exact age but it was around 12, 13, 14….I mean that’s young! Could you even imagine being in her shoes?! I totally can’t. That’s where I see her faith. Her maturity. Her willingness to serve her God. I can’t say I would do the same. Especially at that age, I would have tried arguing back, in disbelief, and tried getting my way out of it. At 14, I had barely even held hands with a boy and i thought everything was the end of the world because I was so dramatic. But Mary, she was not concerned by it. She knew that she could be killed because others would judge her for it. Joseph, who she was promised to marry could have harmed her. Her parents could have disowned her. There are so many other ways this could go. But she took it. She took the responsibility.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. Luke 1:38
The responsibility to mother God’s child. Our Savior. Wow. Parenting is already hard enough as it is, but add in that you’re taking care of the Savior for world. I mean, talk about pressure! But she had such great faith. Faith that God would provide and keep her from harm. She had faith that God would allow her a place to bring Him into the world. Her faith was not shaken. And that’s worth mentioning!
When I was pregnant with my second one, I was miserable with morning sickness and motion sickness. Everything made me puke. I felt awful all the time and I was angry all the time. My hormones were so out of whack I was always upset. It was 9 months of bitterness, constipation, and throwing up. I didn’t want to be in a car ride, but Mary rode a donkey. She ventured over 90 miles. Can you really imagine?
Now don’t worry, I’m not going to leave out Joseph. Because his faith was so great, too. This man, who is set to marry someone, and she comes back from visiting her Aunt and is pregnant. Not just pregnant, but then says it’s with God’s child. Most men would feel deceived, anger, hatred, etc. But Joseph didn’t want Mary to receive judgement so he would not accuse her of such things and made plans to divorce her privately. But then an angel came, and told him the truth. He took that and claimed Jesus as his own. Wow….it takes a great man to be a stepfather as it is already.
My husband loves our son like it’s his own. You wouldn’t be able to tell. My husband saved himself for marriage for 25 years and I didn’t. But that didn’t change anything. He prides himself on waiting til marriage. And he loves my son so much. He took him and raised him like he was his. They are best friends and have such a wonderful relationship together. My husband claims him as his own. Most people don’t even know that he isn’t. And that’s fine. What’s even more beautiful is that my husband would rather other’s think we had a child prior to marriage, than think he’s a stepfather. It’s wonderful. And to think….he didn’t have to do that. He doesn’t but he does. It takes a great man to be a stepfather. And when you think of Joseph….he had such faith to believe Mary and the angel that this was really God’s child. He took him and raised him as his own. Not only that, but the pressure of stepping in and raising our Lord. Teaching Him, caring for Him. That’s huge! What great faith!
I got the chance to be a part of our Nativity play this year. I loved every minute of it. Even though I had heard the story so many times, I felt the true humbleness of the story and it’s meaning. So much, that at the end of the play in dress rehearsal, and the two nights we performed I cried as we sung “O Come let us adore him” after the three kings bowed to baby Jesus. I can’t really really explain it, but I felt so close to my Lord because of it. It was overwhelming.
Having a child is an overwhelming experience already as it is. But there situation was so much more. No place to lay, no doctors to help with the labor, no cleaning/medical equipment, no room, no heater from the cold, no crib for a bed, no medicine for the pain, nothing. God could have entered this world in anyway possible. But He came…at the lowest of lows. In a manger. Right next to all the animals, it probably smelled awful, Mary was not giving birth in the cleanest area, all they had were their clothes or maybe some extra dirty clothes from their trip to clean and wrap the child in, hardly any light, and no one there but the Lord to comfort them through this terrifying experience.
Our God loved us so much, that He chose to come into the world in such a humble way. He chose to come through such ordinary people of no stature. We’ve read over and over in the Bible over how we are not to conform to the world, and how we don’t need worldly things because they are just things. By His entrance, He proved this to us. He came with nothing. Mary and Joseph had nothing. But He didn’t need it. He didn’t need a crib, stroller, fancy blankets, a hospital bed, doctors, etc….He just came. How beautiful is that? He came as a baby, started from the bottom and grew into a man to save all of us from our sins. All so we could be in Heaven with Him one day.
2 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.