Just Like Mary?
It’s this weird thing I do. And maybe you do it too?
Every so often I sit in silence and try to put myself in the shoes of one of my biblical hero’s. I imagine their life. How they lived. How they loved. I imagine the goings-on around them and the hills and valleys they faced. And I breathe in a sense of connection - because in so many ways, their lives weren’t so different from ours.
This morning, as I looked back at the oh-so-familiar, history altering scene in Bethlehem, I found myself locking eyes with Mary.
Can you picture her?
There she is, riding high on the back of a donkey. Her enormous, full-term belly - the belly containing the Messiah - resting, ready to burst on the nape of that fury neck.
Did she watch Joseph as he led them toward Bethlehem? Did she notice things about him she hadn’t seen before?
What did they talk about on their journey? Did she gaze at the sky and smile - amazed at what God had done in her life?
What thoughts filled her mind as she ran her young hands over her belly?
A girl far from home.
A partner of God's.
I imagine what it was like to see the lights of Bethlehem up ahead. Did she wonder about the people in this new town?
Was she cold? Was she sore?
We know the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem would have taken almost a week. Ninety miles over tough terrain, fully pregnant, on the back of a mule. She must have been exhausted.
Was she scared? I would have been.
I picture the night of Jesus’s birth - needing a warm and safe place - but finding only a barn.
A King to be born in a barn.
Was she angry about that? I confess - I definitely would have been.
And then, as Heaven poured out, there He was! Jesus!
In the eyes of my heart, all of history and all of forever stops to bow. Everything holds still as the King enters the world.
And then, there’s Mary.
What was it like to hold Jesus for the first time? To hear His first sounds?
To be the first person to look into His eyes? To stare at His perfect face. To hold His tiny hands.
Captivated. She must have been. Drinking in every divine moment.
It’s the place where lowliness and holiness meet.
Right there in Mary’s arms. Right there in a barn. In an unfamiliar town, away from everyone she know. Just her, Joseph, and the King of the Universe.
What was it like to be Mary? To be the person chosen by God to bring the Word to life? To carry inside of her, the Answer to all of our questions? To hold the One Who would take our place and carry our sins?
Sitting in silence this morning - mesmerized by Mary and her trip to Bethlehem, and her first moments with her baby - it occurred to me that we aren’t all that unlike Mary.
I mean, the obvious differences are there, but if we really think about it - we’re not terribly different.
We’ve also been tasked with a mission. A mission quite similar to hers. To partner with God - to be obedient to His calling - and to carry the Good News.
We too are strangers in our own land. We too hold the Answer to the heart cries all around us.
If we know Jesus - if we really know Him, then we get to partner with God in sharing about His birth. And His death. And, most importantly, His resurrection.
In Mark 16:15, Jesus tells His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” This is no small feat, is it? I can easily become paralyzed at the thought of this task. But what if we just did what Mary did? What if we just said yes to the thing God is asking us to do?
He really will take care of the rest.
Partnership with God begins with a yes. And then it becomes a daily agreement with Him that He knows what He’s doing and He will honour His promises.
Christmas is a wonderful time to show the world our partnership with God. It’s a built-in opportunity to actively carry the Good News to the hurting hearts around us.
Let’s remember the real reason for the season. Let’s remember that the King was carried by a young, obedient woman who accepted her calling. And because of her yes, got a front row seat for the God-designed plan that changed everything.
And if you’re like me, that’s exactly where we want to be. Front row for the unfolding. Stepping fully into the role He’s called us to. Reminding people Hope has a name.
Wonderful Counsellor. Mighty God. Prince of Peace.
Wishing you a really beautiful Christmas season.