Y’all, I have been studying Mary this past week, digging in and trying to understand more about who she was, why the Lord chose her to be our Savior’s mama, and honestly, how I can be more like her. It seems like I would know more by now, but as many times as I have read the Christmas story, the Lord never fails to show me new things, teach me new lessons, and work on my heart in new ways. This year has been one for the ages. One that has challenged my faith and stretched me in new ways. One that has really caused me to strip back the excess of my Christian life and say, “When it comes to my faith, when it comes to me and Jesus, when it comes to me and my family living for Him, what is really important?”
And y’all, I truly believe that the Lord is calling His people to more. Not more of “church”…but more of Him. More knowledge of Him. More time with Him. More listening to Him. More sharing our lives with Him. More resting in Him. And ultimately, more of knowing His heart…and believing Him.
Mary was just a girl. A girl who was living an ordinary life…as far as anyone could tell. But one night, her life changed, when an angel of the Lord told her that she would be carrying a baby…not just any baby…but the Messiah of the world. And I couldn’t help but wonder, why her? What set her apart from all the others?
After the angel left Mary, she hurried to see her relative Elizabeth. It’s a beautiful scene when Elizabeth recognizes that Mary will be the mother of the Messiah, and her baby (John the Baptist) jumps in her womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. But what comes next is the key to so many questions for me. In Luke 2:45, Elizabeth says, “You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”
Oh y’all, it’s so simple, and yet so profound, all at the same time. Mary was chosen because she believed the Lord would do what He said.
I feel like so often, I tell myself I believe. I tell the Lord I believe. I tell others I believe. And I do. But I am ashamed to admit that so many times, I am believing in a hopeful sort of way, like a certain father we learn about in Mark 9. He is the father of a demon-possessed boy who brings his son to Jesus for healing, and this is what happens:
…”Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.” “What do you mean, ‘if I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.” The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:22-24 NLT
Y’all, all too often, I think that’s what my prayer really is…”I believe, help my unbelief.” But that wasn’t Mary’s…and what God saw in her heart set her apart.
But still you think…there had to be others who believed that way? Others who would have believed an angel who appeared to them, right? But y’all, I think it was so much more than that. So much more than those nine months. More than that night in Bethlehem. More than she could have ever imagined.
The Lord had to pick a heart who believed He would do what He said…for life. On every sleepless night, as she cradled that baby boy. To the training and exhausting days of toddlerhood. During the childhood days of mischevious play and games. To the stressful years of life with a teenager. As she watched her grown son gain independence as a young adult teaching others…and then as she stood at the foot of the cross her precious Son died on.
Mary’s story was not just on that night in Bethlehem, and I think I too often forget that, y’all. She lived the everyday as a wife and mama of multiple children. She cooked and cleaned on days that were long and exhausting. But on top of that, she held in her heart the moments she “treasured” and “pondered” about Jesus that must have brought her restless nights. We know from her song that she knew scripture and stories of God’s faithfulness passed down through generations…that she most likely knew the prophecies…and therefore knew that Jesus was a part of that story.
Early on, when Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple, a man named Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but He will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose Him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
Now if that wouldn’t burden a mama, I don’t know what else would. But Mary. I have to think that she believed God had a plan. A good plan…in spite of bad circumstances. In spite of scary things. And in spite of what she could see in those last days. It would be hard to think that Mary never feared or tossed and turned at times. But I don’t believe she ever doubted that God would do what He said. And so she was the one.
Y’all, Jesus loved his mama…some of His last words were entrusting her to John’s care. And trying to imagine that scene, my heart is torn apart. It was our Prince of Peace hanging on that cross, but it was also just a boy and His mama. While she knew He was the Savior, He was also her baby…that same baby we celebrate this Christmas. And she believed He would do what He said. May we all have a heart like Mary’s….this Christmas season and every day after.
Merry Christmas, y’all.