When you think of the Christmas story, who is one of the characters that first comes to mind (besides Jesus, of course)? For many it is Mary, and for good reason, she gave birth to the Lord Jesus. The eternal and divine Son of God.
The fascinating thing about Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and other characters in the Christmas story like Zechariah and Elizabeth; they were common people. None were famous, rich or powerful in the land of Israel. They were unknown, ordinary folks. Mary recognized that ordinariness in herself. Read some of her God-inspired prayer of praise, after the announcement of her mission to carry the Creator’s only Son. “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (Luke 1:47-49)
Note the words she used like “humble estate”, “servant” and “blessed.” And if you read the entire prayer, there are many other words like this, that speak of her simple ordinariness and incredible humility. Mary had such spiritual maturity at a young age, combined with wisdom and graciousness. To think this prayer came from a youth is amazing. Many religious scholars believe she was a teenager.
A comment I heard one preacher say of Mary is that, “She was one of us.” Another part of her prayer amplifies this when she declares, “God my Savior.” Like her fellow Jewish neighbors, she was created by God. And like them, she also was a broken vessel that had fallen short of God’s standards and was in need of a Savior. Not just a divine being to rescue her from life’s situations, but the one and only true God that she and her ancestors worshiped, whom could forgive their sins. In that sense, she considered the Lord God her Savior. Are you imperfect? Have you fallen short of God’s holy standards? Like Mary, as the Lord God became her Savior, He can become yours too.
Mary called herself a “servant” of the Lord God. She did not exalt herself, because she was chosen among a whole world full of women. Instead, she lowered herself to a servant, doing what a servant does – carrying out her Master’s plans. Her prayer reveals how she sought to elevate the Lord God and lower herself, which is a common theme among all God’s chosen ones.
Mary states how future generations will call her “blessed”, meaning one who has received great fortune from God. The fortune of being chosen to bear the Christ-child. How blessed she was! And so are we. When one has been given salvation through Jesus Christ and born again, is he or she not blessed as well? For those who have received this gift, they are fortunate to have experienced the forgiveness of their sins, the hope of heaven, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and so much more! Mary is not the dispenser of any divine blessings and neither are we. Instead, all of us are humble receivers of God’s precious and timely gifts.
No matter who you are, you can receive the grace the Lord God wants to bestow upon you. You and I are unworthy vessels, as Mary was. Yet, God’s grace through Jesus, makes us worthy. If only we will recognize our fallenness and call out to Him for our salvation, trusting in Him alone, then grace upon grace will be ours. A prayer for you. “Lord God, we praise you for your divine wisdom in choosing Mary, to carry your only Son. What an example she is to us. As you were her Savior, may you be ours as well. Humble us as she was, then bring us to turn from our sin and to you, that we may experience your abundant grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Please share your comment with Clint at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow his blog at clintdecker.blogspot.com.
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