Reflection: Characters of Christmas: Mary
In a song that she’ll later sing in praise of God, Mary speaks of the “humble state of his servant” (1:38). She had a low place in the social structure of her world. She was a woman; furthermore, a young woman. Although engaged to be married, she would soon show the signs of pregnancy. Presumably she’d tell people that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, but who would believe her? Mary would face public shame.
Yet, from the moment of this amazing announcement Mary believed the angel’s word. Unlike Zechariah, she did not doubt. The question she raised, “How will this be?” was an honest enquiry as to how a woman could fall pregnant apart from any sexual relations. Upon hearing the angel, she responded with obedient faith, “May your word to me be fulfilled”.
God’s appointment of Mary for this unique role was a gift of grace (1:28). But Mary’s embracing of this work shows the godliness of her character. May we respond to the work God has for us with the same obedience and the same willingness to accept any shame and rejection.
Prayer: Father, thank you that the Lord Jesus suffered shame and rejection in his death on a cross. Help me to follow his example, and the example of your saints, who for the joy set before them despised the shame. Amen.