The Nativity is full of so much love from so many different sources. The one I want to focus on today is the love of a mother.
The interesting thing about being a mother is how willing we are to sacrifice for our children… our time, our comfort, our own desires. And we do it gladly, for love! And maybe we love more because we sacrifice. Mary is such a beautiful example of this kind of love!
26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
I am in awe of the faith Mary had. She was such a young girl and this must have been such an overwhelming experience. Yet, she immediately responded that she would do anything required.
I can’t imagine how she must have felt facing possible humiliation, isolation, or rejection when others found she was with child before being married, even if only by her immediate family. It cannot have been easy. Is it any wonder she chose to spend a good portion of her pregnancy with her cousin Elisabeth who was also having a miraculous experience? What a loving bond these two women must have shared knowing how special their sons were going to be and what a miracle their conceptions had been. How much support and strength they must have been for one another.
4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
This trip must have been so long and uncomfortable for a woman nine months pregnant! And I’m sure she had hoped for more favorable conditions to give birth when her time came. And from the very beginning she was willing to share her son with all those who came to worship.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
One of the things I contemplate most when I think about Mary is whether she fully understood what would be required of her son and how much it would hurt her, or did the Father guard her heart by keeping some of that information back from her. In either case, it is clear that her heart broke as she watched her son dying as he hung on the cross. But what a beautifully reciprocated love was shown when one of the final concerns Christ had as He hung there was His mother, demonstrated as He asked His friend John to take her into his home to care for her. Such love unbroken!
Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant
Mary, Did You Know? by Pentatonix
Challenge: How can you show an increase of love towards those closest to you today? What personal sacrifice would make that love count more?