What Christmas meant to Mary
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
The trees are sparkling, presents underneath, kids sneaking peaks. Yuletide.
We’ve heard it all a million times by now. This really is a beautiful time of year. For me, especially, with a babe in the house who can be found eating pine needles and pulling strings of lights down.
But this year I’ve been taking the time to dig a little deeper. And through some really great devotional material from Just Joy Ministries and She Reads Truth, I’ve been discovering for the first time what Advent really means.
Advent is an arrival, usually of an important thing of event. So on the church calendar, Advent is simply the arrival of Christ. It is a time of waiting and preparation for a grand celebration.
I love shopping and I especially love wrapping presents with string and ribbon. I enjoy so much putting our tree up and forming our home into a cozy wonderland. But what this devotional is telling me is that Advent is not to be a time of hustle and bustle and stress, it really needs to be a time of quietness of the heart, of repentance, of thinking and waiting upon the arrival of a Savior.
The content said, “I hope that the first lesson you will learn in the Christmas story is to be patient with God. Trust God even when your circumstances are challenging. Continue to live a righteous life through days of disappointment. Pray fervently and believe that God is listening to your prayers. Continue to embrace a positive heart attitude when you don’t get your own way.”
Then, lets apply that to a key player in the Christmas story. Mary.
Here is this young woman, in the prime of her life. Engaged to the man she loves, day dreaming and planning her wedding. She was on track. Then God decided to intervene. He decided it was time to use her in His story. He was coming to tell her of an amazing, life-altering gift.
Christmas, for Mary, was the challenge of understanding what the favor of God is truly about. It was about discovering the intimacy of the Lord’s presence like she had never experienced it.
Christmas, for Mary, was understanding that God’s ways are so much higher than ours. It was being taken off the track she thought was before her and being put on God’s path.
Christmas is about the power of heaven’s reality invading a life.
Mary must have been so confused.
And then there was Joseph.
His bride-to-be was pregnant. He had no idea how. The love of his life was to bear the Son of God. He was to be His father. Who would believe them? Their reputation would be drug through the mud. They would be shamed.
But that is where this joy comes from that everyone talks about this time of year. Mary boldly said, “Behold the bondslave of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) And Joseph trusted and believed in Mary and God above all odds. They were in a mess, according to the world. But they were joyful.
Because joy is being convinced that the story will always end well.
Joy is that feeling in all of us what knows, or whats to know, that there is more than just this.
Mary and Joseph felt joy. God knew they would be scared. Who isn’t when they find out they are with child? Let alone with the Child of God.
God knew. So he sent the angel to command them to “be not afraid.”
So if, in this holiday season, you find yourself not exactly where you thought you’d be. If times are tough and difficult or maybe you can’t make it home this year. Or home isn’t what it used to be. Maybe you’re on track and sailing clear. Or maybe your track is so far off that you can’t see it anymore. Have joy.
Because we are just in the middle of this story. And no matter what, we will be ok. Because this is not our story or the world’s story. This is God’s.
“Christmas is a time when we should all expect heaven’s entrance into our dusty, dirty worlds.”
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. Romans 5:2