My appreciation for Mary grows every Christmas. Imagine an unwed teenager willingly giving birth to the Son of God…it is nothing short of incredible. Granted, once the miraculous conception occurred she had little choice but to go through with it, but still….
It is Mary’s attitude that I most admire. Her sense of servanthood was extraordinary. Mary’s ability to accept what God asked her to do is well beyond anything that any of us has been tasked with as followers. Think about the hardest thing you have ever had to endure. Scandal? Mary was immersed in one. Rejection? Mary experienced that. Financial insecurity? Covered. Homelessness? Did that, got the I Went to Bethlehem And All I Got Was this Lousy T-Shirt to show for it.
Lose a child? Again, yes.
But let’s go back to a happier moment. In Luke 1, we see Mary’s response to the news that she was going to bear the Son of God. Here is her response, known as The Magnificat:
Luke 1 ( New Revised Standard Version)
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
The essence of pure joy that flows from these words is something we should bottle up so we can dab it on our wrists in frantic moments. If only we could distill this rejoicing! We could breathe it in when we receive startling, life-changing, impossible-to-accept news.
Mary continues her song, expounding on the glory of God. Her words show a deep and intimate knowledge of who God is. This tells us that Mary was a woman of the word before she became the mother of the Word.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
In Mary’s mind, this news is an answer to Israel’s prayer. Many of her kin would not receive it with the same joy, but Mary knew.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
As we meditate on her response today, think about your own relationship with God. Do you know him as well as Mary did? Can you recount his marvelous deeds in your life? Are you willing to lay down your future to be obedient to whatever he calls you to do?
In a world full of Housewives, self-centered leaders, and shallow people, be a Mary.