As I was considering and praying about the words for this post, the Lord laid upon my heart the idea to celebrate Christmas for the entire month!
So beginning today, and Lord willing, for the next three Wednesdays of this month, I will be writing about a person or group of people from "The Christmas Story!"
I'm really excited about this and I'm praying it will be a blessing to you.
So let's get started with our first Christmas post and our first person who will be featured.
The Mother of Jesus
We are first introduced to Mary when the angel Gabriel is sent to bring her a rather AMAZING message.
"And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God."
We learn quite a bit about Mary from these verses.
Mary lived in Nazareth. She was a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph. She was highly favoured of the Lord and was greatly blessed among all other women. At first Mary was fearful of the words which the angel Gabriel spoke to her, and I can't say I blame her! But once again the angel Gabriel reassured her that she had found favour with God.
As I was doing some research on Mary, I learned that most scholars suggest that Mary was in her teens, possibly in her early teens, when the angel appeared unto to her. No one knows for sure, but no matter Mary’s age when Jesus was born, her spiritual maturity is indeed evident.
Mary was living in Nazareth which was described in one article as "a nondescript dot on the map with not much to offer."
Isn't it just like God to use a peasant girl from a small "out-of-the-way" place?
Now the angel Gabriel is about to totally "rock Mary's world" with the message he has to deliver to her!
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
Mary has a very legitimate question for the angel Gabriel!
"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"
And the angel Gabriel was ready with a reply to her question,
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God."
The answer to her question may have caught Mary by surprise, but she responds with ABSOLUTE FAITH AND OBEDIENCE.
"And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."
Would I have responded the same way?
Would you have responded the same way?
She didn't stammer and stutter and say,
"Well give me a few days to pray about it!"
"Let me run it by Joseph and see what he thinks of this whole idea!"
"But what will people think?"
NO, she didn't hesitate one bit.
She didn't delay one moment in her answer.
Do you think that may be why she found favour with God and was greatly blessed among all other women?
God is always looking to use those He knows will reply with immediate obedience.
Of course we know later in the story when Mary was "great with child", she and Joseph, due to taxing purposes, travelled from Nazareth to Bethlehem.
Ladies, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't have even enjoyed riding in a car from one town to another, let alone travelling by way of a donkey approximately eighty miles while being VERY pregnant!
Mary was an extremely brave, courageous, faithful woman who portrays God's grace and mercy in extraordinary ways.
My most favorite attribute regarding Mary is found in the following verse:
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
This verse once again shows Mary's complete heart of faith. There had to be so many things she didn't understand. Many things that didn't make one bit of sense to her whatsoever, but she trusted God to work it all out!
We read of Mary on many different occasions.
When she and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem to present Him before the Lord.
When they travelled to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of the passover, and lost track of Jesus for three days! When they finally caught up with their twelve-year old Son, they found Him in the temple astonishing the scholars with His knowledge of The Word of God!
Once again it is said of Mary,
"but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart."
Fast forward to Mary watching as her Son is being put to death.
A cruel, agonizing, tormenting death.
A death that would save all people from their sins IF they choose to call upon Him as their personal Saviour.
"And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
As her tears fall upon the ground, I'm sure her mind flashed back to the night when she met her Son for the first time!
To the time when she and Joseph found Him at the age of twelve bewildering the scholars in the temple.
When He performed the miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana.
To all the many days and nights in between which she and her Son enjoyed together which are not recorded in the Bible.
Mary may not have been able to raise Jesus in a fancy home surrounded with jewels and wealth.
Mary may not have been able to teach Jesus about the "finer" things in life or expose Him to the latest and greatest cultural happenings of the day.
But there's one thing that Mary could and DID give to Jesus, and that was her LOVE.
There's something so VERY POWERFUL about the love of a mother.
as her Son.
as her Saviour.
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May God Bless You,