December 4th, 2019
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, "Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you." 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her:
Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
31 Now listen:
You will conceive and give birth to
and you will call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great
and will be called the Son of
the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob
and His kingdom will have no end.
Luke 1: 26-33
The mystery of Mary, the mother of Jesus. It is she who submits herself, body and soul, totally to the will of the Almighty. It is she who simply "ponders" in her heart all the marvelous things God is doing in and around and through her. In giving birth to Jesus, she is the first to risk her life for His sake. She gives of herself quite literally to nourish the holy baby from her own body. All that the word "mother" can mean she was to Him, her little Jesus.
Mary was a silent witness to His humble growing up years. From her open arms He set out to forever change the world. And to those same arms His bloody and broken body was returned after the world was done with Him.
I like to picture her years later. Now she lives in the home of the disciple John, to whom Jesus had entrusted her from the cross. Amidst the busy coming and goings of a household devoted to preaching and ministry, I see a gray-haired Mary quiet and calm, still the ponderer, wading through those marvelous moments that rushed past her like a torrent so many years before. She floats in the midst of them sometimes, barely troubling the waters....
The luminous angel. The great gift of Joseph, her tender husband now long dead. The night of Jesus' birth, the dreamlike quality of it.
All the infant tears she had wiped away. Holding His hands while He took His first wobbly steps. That awful fall from the ladder when He was a boy - the horror on His little face, the dreadful moment of silence before He broke into tears.
Then, much later, the evening He left home for the last time. The dark afternoon He died. The bright morning when He rose again. Seeing Him again, His countenance so otherworldly and yet still her Jesus. The same handsome face she'd caressed. The body she'd held close to warm with her own body. The perfect fingers she had kissed - the fingers of the baby, the fingers of the man...
As much as anyone could understand, that first Christmas, Mary was given to understand. The Life had come. A baby from a virgin's womb. A child that belonged less to her than to the whole world... But for a time, He was hers! He needed her. He couldn't have lived without her....
Lord Jesus, what does your
mother mean to us? What can she
mean to us? She was obedient. She
pondered in her heart the mystery of
who you are. Is she not a pattern
for us all? What place should she
have in our hearts? Use her life and
her example to pattern our lives as
you will, Lord.
And if we are truly more blessed
than she if we hear and obey your
word, then, O Lord, give us ears to
hear and strength to obey. And gift
us with a heart like Mary's, to
ponder the mystery of all you are!