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Candle in the Night

Monday, November 28, 2011

31 Days to Christmas Day 4: Mary

After having two children, I have an entirely different view of what it must have been like for Mary.  You know the song, Silent Night?  I’m guessing it wasn’t at all like that.

I think about Mary, a young girl, not even quite ready to be married.  Possibly just barely interested in boys.  She finds herself engaged to Joseph, a just man, and thinking about being married to him.  She probably sees herself keeping house, cooking, cleaning, raising children.  She looks at the women around her and is sure her life will be no different.  It might even be better than theirs since her husband is a good man. 

Then, the angel comes and nothing is ever the same again.  As he describes what it is that God has chosen for her to do, her mind spins.  If she accepts this task, she could be thrown into the street and stoned.  Even if that doesn’t happen, Joseph will certainly not marry her.  What would her parents think?  But she trusts God.  She knows the possibilities and trusts Him in spite of everything. 

In fact, Mary trusted God so much that she rejoiced before she even knew how it would all turn out. These were her words to Elizabeth, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Savior.  For He hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden; for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For He who is mighty hath done to me great things; and I will magnify His holy name, for His mercy on those who fear Him from generation to generation.  He hath showed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.  He hath put down the mighty from their high seats; and exalted them of low degree.   He hath filled the hungry with good things; but the rich He hath sent away.  He hath helped His servant Israel in remembrance of mercy, as He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.” 

You see, not only did Mary trust God, she saw what was going on.  I think we often see Mary as a weak child.  And maybe she was before the angel’s visit, but she wasn’t afterward.  She knew that God had chosen her.  I see her in my heart sharing these words not only with Elizabeth, but with her parents and Joseph as well.  She was convinced.  There was no doubt in her heart and she knew that God was using her to take her people, “them of low degree”, “the hungry”, to a place of high standing.  He was using her, a lowly handmaiden to bring down the proud, and send the rich away. And praise God, the angel came to Joseph too!  God did know what He was doing and granted Mary a companion for this journey!  

But I have to think that perhaps her heart wavered at some point on the way to Bethlehem.  I’ve been in labor in a car and would not want to do it on a donkey’s back.  I’m sure at some point, she wondered what God’s plan was for her.  Laboring with a man she barely knew, without her mother near, without a midwife.  Laboring in a cold dark stable.  Laboring with her first child.  I imagine there were times she wondered what God had in mind. 

But I believe that as soon as she looked into the face of that baby, her Savior, she knew that God’s plans were the best.  As she watched the shepherds come and worship, heard the angels singing, and saw the starlight, I’m sure she knew that His plans for her were the best. 

So where are you in life?  Are you still that quiet, shy child?  Or have you broken out and trusted God with everything.  I am sure that most of us have far less to fear than Mary, but what do we do with the fears we have?  Do we hang onto them, asking God, “How are you going to take care of this, Lord?” or do we let them go, declaring, “Lord, you are amazing!  I know that however you take care of this is going to be incredible and prove your existence to the world!” 

I know I tend to be the scared child, but this Christmas, as we think about Mary, let’s make it a point to follow in her footsteps and rejoice in knowing that God is bigger than anything we could possibly need.

Luke 2:19
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.  

Candle in the Night



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