Summary: This series approaches the Christmas Story by examining the lives of those present from a very historical perspective. This is week one focusing on the person of Mary.
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end." 34 "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35 The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God." 38 "I am the Lord’s servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.
Mary – Eye Witness News 1
The Christmas Story is one that most of us know extremely well. As Christians, we have been rehearsing that event for over 2,000 years now… you could call it an old hat. It’s beautiful and slightly strange to us… we almost don’t know how to translate it our modern day understandings. So we play it out as best we can, with little boys in their father’s bathrobes playing shepherds, angels with paper wings, children dressed up as animals, Joseph, the baby in the manger… and of course Mary… Mary… sitting quietly and serenely. She has no lines… her job is to look peaceful.
That is what most of us know about Mary… Mary the quiet… Mary the adoring… Mary the peaceful. However, the events leading up to that fateful night would be anything but peaceful for Mary.
The very first time that Mary appears in the Scriptures, she is in the presence of an angel. How’s that for a grand entrance. We learn that she was already engaged. Most marriage agreements were made when the children were fairly young. In all likelihood when Gabriel spoke to her, Mary was probably only 13 or 14 years old, still living with her parents.
Imagine that, 14 years old and being told that you would become pregnant… and the father was NOT going to be your fiancé! I imagine at that moment we would not see the quiet, serene, peaceful Mary that we so often adore during Christmas pageants. As Mary listened to the angel she must have wrestled with all of the problems that she would have if she accepted God’s call. How am I going to explain this to my family? What will Joseph say? What about the townspeople? What will they think of me? Am I headed for a life of being a single parent? Mary would probably live her whole life under a cloud of suspicion from her family and neighbors.
Too often, I think we treat the Christmas Story as if it happened a LONG LONG time ago… plastic… free from blemish after years and years of being polished and perfected by small children playing out the ritual. But what IF… what if we could go back… and see Mary as she was. See her in THAT moment… sit with her on the dirty floor and watch as her face turned white and her mouth went dry. What IF… this were not some event 2,000 years ago… but BREAKING NEWS for all of us today? What if?
PLAY VIDEO - "Advent 1" from Bluefish TV
We forget that… what it must have been like… to accept this call that God had placed on Mary. As the panic rose, as her fear overtook her, she was able to calm herself, and in verse 38 say, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
With this, she willingly accepted all the ridicule… all the contempt… all the loneliness that would come with this decision. It was Mary’s choice to willingly embrace what God had for her. And here is the amazing thing… she made the decision with no assurance… no assurance whatsoever… that anyone except God would ever fully understand. Not her parents… not her beloved… noone.