When the angel gave Mary her pregnancy announcement, fear and confusion gripped her. But the angel declared “don’t be troubled” and “nothing will be impossible with God” and that this son would be God’s.
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.'”
She knew she could be stoned for this — for being entrusted with something that was God’s not hers. She still presented an offering of obedience, for this is what servants do. I would have yearned for more information. As the reality sunk deeper into her heart, she most likely did spin a host of practical questions, but for the next step she clung to faith.
Her understanding of her Savior was affirmed by her cousin Elizabeth, whose baby leapt for joy at the presence of the unborn Deliverer. If they were anything like me, perhaps these women couldn’t sleep for the excitement. Perhaps they eagerly recited the prophesies about Emmanuel whom they would meet in just a matter of months.
We know Mary praised God, recorded for us in Luke 1. She called herself a “humble servant” and acknowledged the worth of a glorious God. His mercy to her nation prompted her to magnify the holy Lord. The “hopes and fears of all the years” met their answer in His display of strength.
“And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.’”
Mary knew her weakness and humanity, but the object of her faith was Divine and Marvelous. She sang of humble things and mighty things. Perhaps morning sickness plagued her, but a generations’ hope would be birthed. God’s strength was revealed in the proud being scattered and the hungry being filled. The whole world would be turned upside down. Grace and justice would meet. Lowly shepherds would see angelic messengers. The dead would taste life. Darkness would be snuffed. Proud King Herod would be outmaneuvered. Promises to Anna and Simeon would be fulfilled. Blind would see. Curtains would be torn in two. Mary didn’t see all of this when she sang, at least not at first. But she knew what kind of God she had chosen to obey — One who would help Israel.
We’re told, “And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.” She firsthand witnessed the Godhead clothed with flesh. Her response? Praise and pondering.
He has done great things for us! Do you know He still remembers His mercy today? The gift of the Savior is every bit as powerful and meaningful as it was for Jesus’ earthly parents. Have you placed your trust in Him as your deliverer from your sins?
He is the Great I Am. I believe Mary’s advice for us would be to fear Him and taste His mercy — remember what she told the servants at the wedding in Cana?
“His mother said to the servants, ‘”Whatever He says to you, do it.'”
This instruction came from someone who had raised Jesus from infancy, bearing eyewitness to a sinless life. And a woman who was familiar with the cost of faithful obedience; how beautiful it is to hear her call to “do whatever He says.”
He says to come to Him. I hope to have an obedient Christmas. One where I ponder His activity in my past and future, one where I rejoice in His mighty deeds.
Whatever His will for us, let it be according to His Word. His mercy belongs to those who fear Him. Treasure the truth. Rejoice in humble worship.
Illustration from “The First Christmas According to Luke” by Concordia Publishing House