When I think of Mary, I often think of those two words. We often only think of Mary as the virgin who gave birth to Jesus. While our eyes should never drift from the greatness of Christ during this season, it is important to look at the obedience of His parents.
Mary was a young woman when the angel, Gabriel, first appeared to her. We don’t know much about Mary. Bible scholars suggest she was between the ages of 13 and 15. We know from the Gospel of Luke that she was a virgin (Luke 1:26). We also know that she was engaged to a righteous man named Joseph (Matthew 1:18-19). But more than that, we know that Mary was obedient to the Lord—and that is evident throughout the entire birth and life of Christ.
Mary was a young Jewish woman who loved God and she was about to be in the center of one of the biggest “scandals” in history. She was a pregnant virgin. I can hear the whispers in Nazareth now. And yet, she was obedient. The angel appeared to Joseph, assured him that she was loyal to him and yes, she was in fact, pregnant with God’s Son.
There was no room at the inn, so she gave birth in a barn full of hay, manure, and animals. I’ve never given birth, but I can’t imagine it being easy in those living quarters. We have hospitals, trained doctors, and medicine—Mary didn’t. But she was obedient…even in a barn.
She held her Son as the shepherds and wise men came to bow before Him and offer gifts. I can’t imagine the thoughts going through her head.
She watched her Son grow up, knowing He was different. Like most mothers, she even lost track of him one time. But instead of hiding in the clothes racks at Target, the 12-year-old Jesus was sitting among teachers in the temple, asking and answering questions (Luke 2:41-50). She watched Him begin His ministry. The baby she once held in her womb was now giving the blind sight, allowing the deaf to hear, and making the lame walk. Each miracle was a constant reminder that this man was different and special—He was not just her son.
And finally, she watched her Son hang on a tree. He was taking on the sins of the world—her sins included. Can you imagine how she felt? I’m not a mother, but I can picture her sobbing at the sight of her child, her miracle. The boy that was promised to her 33 years earlier, the boy she watched teach in the temple, the man who performed so many miracles. Yes, He was God’s Son. But He was also hers.
She was obedient to what God called her to do. Though she was shocked and dismayed when the angel, Gabriel, first appeared to her, she responded by saying “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38, NLT).
This Christmas, when reflecting on the birth of Jesus Christ—who became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14)—remind yourself of Mary’s song. When the Lord requested her to do what we consider unthinkable, this was her song of praise:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior,
because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His slave.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed,
because the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and His name is holy.
His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him.
He has done a mighty deed with His arm;
He has scattered the proud because of the thoughts of their hearts;
He has toppled the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly.
He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel, mindful of His mercy,
just as He spoke to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants forever. (Luke 1:46-55)
Despite her circumstances and situation, Mary allowed God to use her, and she obediently followed Him. Will you?