When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. Luke 2:15-18 (NRSV)
I know that sometimes Protestant Christians- even Lutherans- sometimes shy away from talking too much about Mary, the young woman who God chose to be Jesus’ earthly mother. We get uncomfortable talking about her because we don’t believe that she is equal to Jesus or that she is a deity in and of herself. Yet we should most certainly look at Mary as a woman who was blessed by God. We should certainly look at Mary as a role model and an example of a person who was open to God’s will and purpose for her life.
God had an infinitely important and special plan for Mary’s life even though she was not wealthy, influential, well educated or any of those things that the world puts value upon.
Is it too hard to believe that God has unique and important plans for all of us in His grand scheme of things?
One of the most interesting themes in Scripture is that we see that the only real “hero” in the Bible is God. God has a deep sense of humor in who he chooses to do His greatest things. David was a youngest son- a scrawny shepherd boy- but God made him the greatest King of Israel and Jesus’ greatest earthly ancestor. Ruth stepped into the Scriptural story as a destitute widow and an outsider in her community, yet she is also in Jesus’ lineage. Paul was a misguided Pharisee who had been behind persecuting the church and killing Christians, yet God used him for a powerful Christian witness who speaks to God’s people even today.
God uses the least likely people to accomplish His biggest purposes- the meek, the weak, and the flawed. And that is good news. God is in control in spite of our failings, weaknesses and missing pieces.
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you. – “Mary, Did You Know”- Mark Lowry
I wonder if Mary knew as she watched Jesus grow up and as she did all those things that mothers do for their children for Him, just how important this tiny child would prove to be.
Sometimes we lose sight of our own importance in God’s eyes. Do our lives matter? Do all the mundane and repetitive and dirty chores make a difference? What about the people around us? If we truly believe that God is Who He says He is, can we look at ourselves and others knowing that God is always at work in and through His people?
An argument arose among them as to which one of them was the greatest. But Jesus, aware of their inner thoughts, took a little child and put it by his side, and said to them, “Whoever welcomes this child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me; for the least among all of you is the greatest.” Luke 9:46-49 (NRSV)