What is the truth about Christmas? Could it possibly be true? How does the journey of Mary reveal the truth about this Christmas season. Let's go on an unexpected journey as we review the Christmas story through the lens of Mary. There is truth about Christmas and today we are going to see just a tiny bit of a much grander story.
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The 2018 series invites you to follow along as 12 moms share how as mothers they each are cultivating a home in which they strive to bring joy, peace, and healing to their families during the time of year that often is busy, chaotic, and stressful. Enjoy the stories, devotionals, and heart talk as you reflect on this time of year. Today's article looks at the truth about Christmas and how unlikely yet true it was.
The Journey of Mary
Is there a more exciting, terrifying, unknown, and crazy experience than that of being pregnant? In an instant, your world is changed. Millions of emotions can occupy your heart simultaneously. Something you had thought about, maybe even hoped for, comes into existence and you are left to process the fact that it is now a reality. You’re pregnant.
But what if this pregnancy did not come in the way you expected? What if A, B, and C didn’t quite line up in the way you assumed, and now you’re expecting a baby in a different set of circumstances than what you’ve always dreamed about? And that’s where the main character of our story enters: Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ.
I want us to step into Mary’s world for just a few minutes, and put ourselves into her place in this very familiar story. There is truth about Christmas and we are going to see how Mary trusts and responds to the task ahead of her.
Whether you’ve been pregnant six times or never before, we can all relate to Mary as she experiences a life-changing event that would not only alter the course of her life, but would literally transform the course of human history. And it all began with an unforeseen pregnancy.
Mary, probably around thirteen years old, was living a decently normal life. She had recently gotten betrothed to Joseph, which is basically like getting ‘legally engaged,’ if there were such a thing in our culture. Perfect—her life was coming together just as would be anticipated for a young girl in her culture. However, one ordinary day she received an encounter that would have understandably left her reeling from the weight of it. But instead, as she welcomes this monumental news, we have her response documented for all eternity.
Mary and Gabriel
In steps Gabriel, an angel sent by God. We’re not sure how this angel presented himself, whether he was dressed in white with obvious wings and a halo—as we would picture a heavenly encounter—or if he just looked like a normal Galilean citizen. We do know that his first words to Mary were,
“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”Luke 1:28 ESV
And for Mary, their introduction was a bit disturbing, and it left her mind swirling with trying to figure out what in the world was going on:
“But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.”Luke 1:29
So she’s terrified and confused. But nothing could prepare her for what Gabriel would inform her of next:
“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”Luke 1:30-33
The angel wasted no time. His great announcement is revealed: Hey, don’t worry about it, but God has chosen you to get pregnant and give birth baby boy whose name will be Jesus, and He will be the Son of God. But again, no need to worry.
What?! This can’t be. I’m not even married yet. Is this a joke? Okay, so those are my words, but apparently Mary’s response was pretty similar:
“How will this be, since I am a virgin?”Luke 1:34
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I love that Mary quickly gathers her thoughts and responds with a very practical inquiry: how will this be? I feel like it would have been completely fitting for her to ask some other questions as well: Is this for real? Hold on, what did you say? Am I dreaming? Pregnant? Did you mistakenly come to the wrong person? Wait, what is this baby’s name going to be? Did you say the Son of God? And did you actually tell me not to worry? Because I’m freaking out right about now.
But Mary’s simple question prompted some more details from Gabriel:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.”Luke 1:25
So you don’t need to do anything to make this happen, it’s all going to happen by the power of God. Really? I don’t know if that is encouraging or even more scary. I am going to be a vessel of the power of the Most High, and there’s nothing else I need to do to make it happen.
Again, Mary’s response is too amazing not to note:
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”Luke 1:38
That’s it. No arguing, no more questions. No more trying to calculate the details and implications of how this would radically affect her life, her family’s life, or her soon-to-be-husband, Joseph’s life. Instead, she jumps on board with a resolute, “I’m in, sign me up.” She makes it look so simple, doesn’t she? She realizes the truth about Christmas and trusts.
Oh, and the story gets better. In this whirlwind of emotions, Mary takes a road-trip to see her relative, Elizabeth, gets further confirmation of this unordinary pregnancy, and then writes a song praising the Lord for what He’s doing in her life. You can read the whole thing in Luke 1:46-55. It really is amazing. Okay, I’ll give you a sneak peek. Mary joyfully begins with:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior…”Luke 1:46-47
The Big Picture
Now let’s remember, Mary didn’t see the rest of the story. She had no idea that her birth experience would end up being vastly different from the norm. At nine months pregnant she would end up being far from home with no family but her fiancé Joseph, and she would go into labor, and have to deliver her son in a dark, scary and unknown place, probably the opposite situation than she envisioned with her birth plan.
But then, this Son of hers would grow up to be famous, to perform countless miracles, become a renown teacher, and most importantly, to be the Savior of the World. Thirty-three years later she would experience the most horrifying experience she could imagine—her miracle baby would be crucified as He literally fulfilled His entire purpose of being born by giving up His life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)
The Truth About Christmas
Let’s finish our story observing, one last time, Mary’s faith-filled response to her initial encounter:
“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”Luke 1:38
Mary gave life to the Baby who would in turn make eternal life available to every human being ever to be alive:
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”1 John 5:12
And it all began with an unexpected pregnancy, announced by an unplanned visitor, culminating in an unlikely labor and delivery. Yet through this, we all get to experience the blessing of Mary’s willingness to be a part of the great plan of God. There is truth about Christmas in this little part of the great plan of God.
Though a messier story than we would typically jot down in our fairy-tale prone minds, Mary didn’t allow that to hinder her faith. Instead, she accepted the word that came to her through Gabriel as a good word and it made her glad.
About Kristen Harless
Kristen’s desire is to encourage women with Biblical truths and inspire them to love God’s Word. She updates her new blog A Good Word for Her with simple, insightful, scriptural content. You can read her posts and sign up for her email list at www.agoodwordforher.com.
Kristen lives in New Mexico with her husband and three children. Her most challenging part of motherhood is dealing with the demands of three young children simultaneously—homeschooling, potty-training, toddler tantrums—the constant needs of little ones. Her favorite part of motherhood is watching the spiritual, emotional, and mental growth of her children on a daily basis.