As I watch the winter wonderland outside my window, I am thankful for a cozy cup of tea to be savored beside the warm flame of a fire in my kitchen hearth. Hoping you can savor some quiet moments today to contemplate the spectacular story of our Savior’s birth.
But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
Luke 1:30-31 – NIV
As Advent rolls around each year, I am struck anew by the figure of Mary. I stand in awe of her, and yet, I am quite confident that we could have been friends. I think she was a woman who would have welcomed a cup of tea and a chance to chat with me.
Imagine sitting across the table from Mary. I am sure she would have been good company, a warm, attentive woman who would listen well and speak softly. Her gentle eyes would have held my gaze, her head tilted in contemplation as she listened attentively to my story. She would have asked about me first, genuinely interested in my concerns, wanting to know my story before disclosing her own.
When I shared a bit of humor, there would be a sparkle in her laughter. Her lovely eyes would dance with delight. She was a woman that surely knew how to savor joy.
Mary wouldn’t miss a beat in the conversation, but she would never steal the show. Her demeanor would be a bit of an enigma, full of humility, yet bold and courageous. Her countenance would radiate a confidence that is not easily named, as if she knew a secret that no one else was privy to. Her secret emboldened her, giving her a radiant glow, an aura of serenity across her beautiful face. I am quite certain I would have felt peace in her presence.
Yes, I would enjoy that cup of tea with Mary. I am sure it would take some prodding to get her to talk about herself. Her humility would keep her quiet for a bit, but if I continued my queries, she would sit back, take a long sip of her tea and begin her tale. Oh, what a story she could tell, of angels and amazement, of motherhood and miracles, of mystery and a manger, of devotion and despair, of joy and Jesus.
Just think of Mary at age 12 or so, receiving the news she would give birth to the Messiah. She was just a young teenager, seemingly unprepared for such an unfathomable assignment. She had to be scared and most certainly overwhelmed. Yet, what was her response to the angel’s message? She accepted it on faith.
It must have been so hard for her. Was there a blush on Mary’s cheeks as the other villagers stared at her bulging belly? Yet, Mary walked right past the stares, ignoring the whispers behind her back. The world around her would have no doubt judged her. “Well, she is betrothed to Joseph, but this is a bit early, isn’t it?” Surely, there would have been some talk about the town.
Still, Mary took it all in stride. She took the high road and ignored the whispers of the other women. Instead, she clung to her faith and remembered the angel’s promise. She did not know how it would work out. She just believed that it would.
Isn’t that what faith is all about? Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Mary believed in what she could not clearly see. She stood on God’s promises and placed her hope in Him. Though she was not delivered from the contrary critics of her culture, Mary held her head high and hung onto her hope.
Surely, Mary’s life was a true testimony of faith, an example that lives on, even today. When things are hard, when the world around us is judgmental and harsh, remember Mary. Remember how she stepped out in faith, how she carried that baby in her womb, the child that would one day save her soul.
In those early days of her pregnancy, Mary could not see the end of her story. She had no idea how it would all work out. She just believed that it would.
You and I cannot see the end of things either. We are faced with heavy duty problems that have no obvious solutions. We don’t know how it will all work out. Yet, if Mary was sitting across the table from you, she would listen to your story, nod her head with empathetic understanding, and then tell you to keep the faith. She would tell you to stand on it, to believe in the promises of God, because somehow, some way, things will all work out.
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed,
Luke 1:46-48 – NIV
O Gracious God, thank you for the example of Mary. What an amazing woman she was. She is indeed blessed among women. Lord, teach us to step out in faith as she did. Help us to stand on Your promises, to trust in Your good plan for our lives. Strengthen us for the struggles of this life and see us through the hard days. For You love us with an unfailing love and Your mercies are new every morning.