Readers- before Robynn left for India she wrote a few posts for Fridays with Robynn. Enjoy this one on Mary, the Mother of Christmas.
Since the moment the angel first appeared to Mary all those years ago, nine months or so before the very first Christmas, until now, her story has fascinated me.
In some countries and circles she has been venerated almost to the point of being deified. She has been painted, prayed to, discovered on grilled cheese sandwiches and on the tops of mountains in France. Shrines have been set up to her. People have looked to her to perform miracles or to convince her Son to perform miracles. As a result many of us Protestants have thrown out the Baby’s mother with the bath water. We have freaked out and we’ve over-reacted! Certainly, it is true, we should not ascribe to her what only belongs to her Son, but neither should we ignore her.
Mary, this “lowly servant girl” has a lot to teach us and we need to be among those who “from now on call (her) blessed”.
In the Old Testament God related to his humankind through an elaborate system of laws, sacrifices, priests. It seems to me that He set up a system that the people couldn’t possibly succeed at. They were human. They failed. And he knew that they would. He let them try again and again and again. He was preparing the stage for the grand entrance of Grace and Hope… for the birth of Jesus.
And He chose Mary to be the woman who would bear the Son. She was the package, the vessel, the container. Hers was the womb. She alone was chosen for the unique privilege of being the first to be literally indwelt with God himself, with the Son, to contain the very Presence of God.
And what was Mary’s response? Her first reaction was confusion but not doubt. She was perplexed over the biology of the whole thing. How could this happen? Spiritually she didn’t hesitate for a minute. There was woven into the fabric of Mary’s soul an eagerness, a faith, an expectancy that looked to God –fully believing he would do what he said. She didn’t flinch. She didn’t hesitate. She said yes to God. And her yes brought Jesus into her world. Mary’s yes delivered the Christ to those around her and ultimately to us!
Mary was the first to give home to the indwelling presence of God—the Son in Embryonic form was knit together in Mary’s womb, fearfully and wonderfully. And because of her agreeing in faith to house the Holy One we also are invited into a similar experience. We also at the point of our believing, at the moment of faith, are in some way overshadowed by the Holy One and filled with the Spirit. It is no less a miracle than that first filling. The reality is just as sure that God himself is with us. He has left us His Spirit and He resides in us—fearfully and wonderfully.
We too are filled with God. He is Emmanuel. God with us.
We may at times experience the perplexity: how can this be? And yet let us also join with Mary in faith. Let us not flinch back in fear from being overshadowed by God! Let us not hesitate to surrender to God, to what He is doing in our lives, to how He wants to use us to deliver Christ to the world around us. Mary was our example. Let us join with her and say “yes” to our great God!