“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her. – Luke 1:38
It is Christmas Eve, one of those days so packed with promise and anticipation that none of us has any time for more than a cursory glance at a piece of writing like this. But it’s also the best day to share these particular thoughts – while Sunday’s message is fresh in my head and while it is “O Holy Night” this evening and everyone is already thinking about Mary.
Sunday, for the first time in thirty-six-plus years of ministry, Rebekah preached about Mary. I recommend listening to the entire message, but if you don’t here is my very short takeaway.
Just a Girl…
Let’s not sell Mary short – she was just a girl. Fact is, Mary is diminished inasmuch as she is elevated beyond the simple story as recorded in the Gospels. Legend and tradition have created a semi-divine figure who is revered and worshipped, giving Mary a halo, purity, and other glorified attributes that make her role something less real than what we learn from reading scripture.
However, the beauty of the Mary story is not the mythological construction but that she is no different from any one of us. Then Mary said “yes” to God and allowed the intrusion, the disruption, and the danger that comes with submission to God’s plan and purpose. She did not earn this privilege by being without sin or especially religious. God used her because of her willingness to follow.
Joseph, likewise, listened to God and willingly took Jesus into his home. Just a girl, just a carpenter. Nothing any more remarkable than faithfulness and trust. Nothing outside of what is possible when any one of us makes the transformational decision to follow Jesus.
Tonight, when we go to church and celebrate the birth of Jesus, let us all be like Mary and Joseph.