“And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?’” (Luke 1:34)
Mary, the virgin, so venerated by our Catholic friends, so neglected by us Protestants. But I dearly love Mary. Why? Who is the real Mary? What did she look like? Hair style, clothes? What kind of house did she live in? What sort of family income? Education? What age was she? And was she skinny or not? The truth is, we don’t know any of those important things about Mary, do we? Nothing. Except her insides. The REAL Mary. That part of Mary we know intimately.
Read Luke 1:28-38; 46-55. That’s the REAL Mary. But we concentrate on the gift wrap, don’t we? Was Mary Miss Nazareth? A graduate of Jerusalem Women’s College? No indeed!
God’s gift to Mary was not just for Mary. She was the Christmas package in which God wrapped His gift for the world. And that is what he designed you for. From eternity: to bring Christ to others, to do a special job for God in the world, something no one else can do.
But what if that isn’t happening? Well, maybe your insides, the real you, isn’t ready for Jesus. What do you have to be like for Jesus to come in? Strong and successful and smart? No, Mary was a poor girl by our standards, uneducated, unknown beyond the small circle of family and friends. So…What was the REAL Mary like?
When you have the wraps stripped off by cruel circumstances or evil people, what do we discover within? The ugliness of a person self-centered? Or how about self-discovery, self-fulfillment, self-expression, self-indulgence, self-pity, self-assertion. What an ugly little hard core of self-worship. You are god – and there is no room for two gods in the package of you! But what about Mary?
Above all she was humble. “I am the bond-servant of the Lord.” Whatever you say, is OK. She was surprised by grace – “why me, Lord?” Luke 1:38. This is where heart preparation starts. But I don’t naturally incline toward servanthood. How could I get that way if I wanted to?
Mary’s obedience came from a trusting heart. Mary had faith in God that he is going to do the best thing and that he can do the impossible. “How can this be?” She asks in Luke 1:34. Not the way Sarah questioned the prediction of her pregnancy, not like Zacharias questioned the prophecy of his wife’s pregnancy. Think of her faith: a baby without sexual intercourse? and would she lose her most precious possession, Joseph? She would certainly lose her reputation. Which is probably what she did: “we were not born of fornication”.(John 8:41), and perhaps she would lose her friends.
But she said, “Yes.” What faith!
If you have a yielded and trusting heart toward God and his messenger what will happen to you? The same thing that happened to Mary, in a way: the Holy Spirit will come on you and the power of the Almighty will overshadow you and that holy One formed in you is the Son of God.
Yes, right there in the dirty, smelly, obscure, rejected stable of your circumstances, you can receive the magnificent gift, the Holy One. But perhaps you already have Him. Great, now you can grow ever more like Him. And now you can deliver His grace to others. If I only have Mary’s heart of humility and faith, with God nothing shall be impossible. Mary’s Christmas can be your Christmas: God’s magnificent gift of his Son delivered in the package of you to all the people in your life.