A Very “Mary” Christmas
Today’s journey through the Christmas story finds us in Luke 1:26-38. Let’s read this together: 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
In the Protestant world, I often think that Mary gets a bit neglected. Roman Catholicism teaches that Mary was sinless, which is absolutely false and that Mary didn’t have any other children, also not true. Finally, some Catholics teach that Mary never died and was assumed into heaven. Unfortunately all these things are simply not true, plus Mary is prayed to as a saint which is also very unbiblical. What is also unfortunate is that in an attempt to set the record straight on Mary, us Protestants often ignore Mary’s record. We don’t worship her but we should not forget her.
As I read this passage in Luke I am amazed at Mary’s response and my mind spins as I consider what must have been going through her mind as the angel spoke to her. She had no real context in which to place the angel’s words. She just obeyed. She just submitted to God’s plan for her life, even though it must have caused her great difficulty throughout her life. She had to bear all the comments about her “divine pregnancy” and then she had to raise a “perfect” Son, all while raising other children and interacting with other moms; talk about jealousy at the local preschool! Then, she had to endure Jesus’ cruel death.
Mary played a very important role in the Christmas story. No, she was not sinless and she did die, despite what the Roman Catholic church teaches, but she was a special woman who played an important role in bringing Jesus to earth. Let’s remember her example the next time we “hear” something unusual from God.