Mary, Did you know?
Did you know that there would be no room at the inn?
Did you know the road would be rough?
Did you know that your baby’s first bed would be a manger?
Did you know that your first visitor’s would be shepherds that abandoned their sheep to search for the Lamb of God?
Did you know that wise men following a star and bearing gifts would kneel before your child?
Did you know that you would have to flee to Egypt to escape Herod’s murderous rampage?
Did you know your life would never be the same?
Mary, Did you know?Andrea Rodriguez
As Christmas draws near and I reflect on the first two chapters of Luke, it dawned on me that the nativity story is often told with lights, music, glitter, and maybe a smoke machine. Yet, if we really think about it, there was nothing glamorous about Mary’s ordeal. Mary didn’t suddenly start walking around with a halo, she didn’t go to Bethlehem in a fancy horse-drawn carriage and she certainly didn’t get the red carpet rolled out to her in front of the fanciest inn in Bethlehem.
Promise in a manger
Mary, a poor, humble young woman who found favor in the eyes of God, carried the long-awaited promise in her womb, she believed the Word of the Lord spoken to her, yet she was not granted special privileges when the time came for her to give birth to the Messiah.
She gave birth in a stable, not in a sterile hospital room, or a candle-lit room with her doula and midwife present, soft music playing in the background. This does not seem right. There must have been a mistake. But, there was no room for her and Joseph at the inn. Was it because the place was packed or was it simply because there was no room for the likes of a poor Carpenter from Nazareth?
Would we scoff at the idea of giving birth in a barn or stable? Riding a donkey for miles, only to find out that the only option was bunking with the animals? A far cry from what Mary must have imagined it would be giving birth to her first child. What was going through her mind as she laid the along awaited Messiah, the Promised One in the manger?
I think of the times I’ve gotten frustrated because God’s promise didn’t seem to match up with my reality. Nothing looks like what He promised. How do we deal? What would your response be?
The Lord’s Handmaid
Yet, we see Mary yield to God’s plan, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”( Luke 1:38)
“And Mary said, Behold the handmaid … – This was an expression of resignation to the will of God, and of faith in the promise. To be the “handmaid of the Lord” is to be submissive and obedient, and is the same as saying, “I fully credit all that is said, and am perfectly ready to obey all the commands of the Lord.” Barnes Notes on the Bible
Mary offered a poor woman’s offering at the temple, “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.” This was an alternative specified in Leviticus 12 for the poor who couldn’t afford a lamb. Mary and Joseph, a humble couple whose hearts remained fully committed to the Lord, even in the face of hardships and confusion.
So did Mary know? There was a lot Mary did not know at that time, but she knew that God would fulfill the word He spoke to her through His messenger, Gabriel and that was enough for her.
Is it enough for us? This Christmas, as we prepare to celebrate His coming, are we willing to echo Mary’s words, “I am the Lord’s servant, I am the Lord’s handmaid, may your word to me be fulfilled.”