It’s the time of year when we particularly focus on the story of Jesus’ birth. Though the greatest lesson we can grasp from this story is simply Jesus himself, have you ever noticed the example of his mother, Mary and Joseph his earthly father? Perhaps it is being a new mum myself, but I have never before stopped to consider the wonderful character they display. So I pray that you will indulge me for a few moments as we explore how we can apply this lesson in our own lives, hopefully leaving us even more in awe of Jesus our Saviour at this time of year.
“Then the angel said to her, Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and give bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.” – Luke 1:30-31
I know when I think of Mary, my mind usually drifts to the excitement in her assignment from God. What an unbelievable opportunity – to be the mother of God’s son.
But while her task was certainly unique and exciting (and probably a bit terrifying), and Mary is spoken of with great respect and admiration today, it wasn’t like that 2,000 years ago …
Most historians suggest Mary was between 15-16 years old when she gave birth to Jesus. Add in the gossip and chatter that emerged because she wasn’t married. In fact, when she told Joseph her fiancé, he didn’t believe her and wanted to hide her away (Matthew 1:19). But an angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid and confirmed what Mary had told him was true. (Matthew 1:20-21).
Then after them getting through that initial trial, she and Joseph had to travel hundreds of miles on foot, while in labour … and give birth in a stable! Ouch.
So, how, I hear you asking, does this relate to us today? Well, the bottom line is: living your life in accordance with God’s ways can at times seem hard, but it will be worth it. For God gave His Son Jesus that we can have the hope of living forever in a peaceful world.
So how do we stay encouraged when times get tough? Maybe the Christmas you’re facing isn’t quite as you’d hoped it would be. Well, look at what Mary sang:
“For He who is mighty has done great things for me … His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation” – Luke 1:49-50 Mary wasn’t focused on the here and now. Mary was focused on what she knew God would do for her and many generations to come. Let us be motivated in the same way. All this world has to offer will fade away. So don’t worry about today. Know that God never wastes an opportunity, and even if results don’t come until later, God’s purpose will prevail.