Thoughts on Mary

It's Christmas time: a season of joy.  A time to be with family and loved ones, to celebrate with lights, a beautiful tree, presents and so much food you once again consider a new year's resolution to get back into shape.

Yet Christmas... or rather the REAL STORY for why we celebrate Christmas had some awkward, painful, confusing and difficult beginnings.  I ran across this verse a few days ago...

"But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Mary most likely knew a divine joy upon learning she would be the one bringing the Messiah into the world, the Son of God, no less!?  I would suspect that she did know joy, yet I would also suspect that there was a reason the Angel said to her, "Do not be afraid..." (besides the obvious fact that one of God's powerful angels was standing in front of her...)  

I wonder how often she pulled out that 3x5 card that said, "do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God..." to remind herself not to be afraid, shrink back, or get angry from the hurtful judgements, comments and merciless community who did not experience the angel's visit or message.  She had a pretty tough crowd to face.  

We know Joseph almost opted out.  Thankfully he knew Mary well enough and loved her enough to not publicly defame her (she may have been stoned to death) by considering divorcing her privately (engagement in those days was pretty serious, it was more than a light decision to break it off).  We must not overlook the step of faith he took as well; it did not bode well for his name to wrap his arms around this so-you-claim-you-are-still-pure preggo girl.  There goes his reputation.  God took care of Joseph through a convincing dream.  (Go God!)

What Mary went through was most likely pretty brutal.  A situation not-so-easy to explain.  Did she try? Somehow, I don't think she did... why? I don't have any solid proof to say she did not try but she found favor with God which means she hoped in Him.  This speaks strongly to the strength in her faith.  A woman of God hopes in Him (a recent message by John Piper reminded me of this).  She believed God would come through, be true to His Word, His nature was loving and good: she was covered with His Favor.  

Therefore, I believe she let the pieces fall as they would and trusted God to cover her.  Her reputation was not so important as her obedience; God would take care of her name.  He did.

Favor, God's favor: this has been the key Word I felt God gave me back in January for this year.  His favor is on me!  His table is full of delightful blessings because of His favor.  Living in His favor does not take away that fact that this table is found at times in a valley of the shadow of death.  A place where pain is experienced, anguish taunts, fear threatens yet where joy can exist because His presence is Near!

"The Lord is Near.  Be anxious for nothing..."  

He is still in the business of covering us when we cannot necessarily explain decisions made through prayer, turns we follow as He leads, circumstances that painfully unfold or simply living a life of faith, but He calls those who "live by faith to walk by faith" - that means trusting one step at a time.  He invites us to trust in Him, steadfastly hope in Him to do more than we can ask or imagine.  He is good and He is with us: THAT is what makes Christmas a season of Joy. 


notpoems said…
wow, such good thoughts. His presence is near, and in His presence is fullness of joy. thanks for these words!

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