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She’s Not the Hero

December 13, 2011

There’s a nativity scene that we drive by quite frequently this time of year.  It’s really an amazing display.  The shapes of the people and animals have been cut out of wood and painted white.  The lights are set perfectly so that it looks very peaceful…almost surreal…glowing in the darkness of the night.  But somewhere, lost in the spectacular imagery, is the reality that the whole thing is set in a barn. 

 Take a moment and read through Luke 1:26-55.  I know that you’ve heard this story…but maybe you haven’t heard it today.

 Can we just agree that this would have been an uncomfortable set of circumstances for Mary?  I don’t want to make too much out of her, but we have to concede that she embraced an extremely difficult scenario.  She was a young girl.  She was betrothed to a man…which is basically like being married…but without some the benefits of marriage.  She was pregnant in a small town…a town where everyone would have known before too long what was happening.  And she was facing a life that…regardless of what she had dreamed for her future…would never be the same as what she had imagined.  On that day, Mary’s world was changed forever.

 And listen, Mary needed a little more information from ole Gabriel.  In verse 34 she just comes right out and asks him, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”  Now listen…that’s a fair question.  And I realize that many of you have gotten numb to this whole idea.  But the fact of the matter is that virgins don’t get pregnant…and Mary understood that.  She needed to know what was happening.  So…and don’t miss this…Gabriel explained it to her.  One of the false ideas about Christianity is that we all just blindly buy into whatever the preacher tells us.  Here, the mother of the Messiah, a woman that I’m telling you was a woman of incredible faith, is hearing from an angel…an actual angel…and she needed some clarification. 

 Now look at how she responds.  In verses 46-55, we see her reaction to the news that everything was changing.  We don’t see a girl complaining about her circumstances.  What we see is a girl who recognizes that God is doing something through her…something amazing.  She understands that there are going to be some who never believe her story.  There are going to be conspiracy theorists who speculate all sorts of things about her past in order to explain this miracle away…in order to rationalize it.  She knows that Joseph is going to need some convincing.  And she knows that there is a day that is coming, in the not too distant future, when that baby inside of her is going to enter into the world.  She knows the pain that’s coming in giving birth.  And her response is, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”  She knows He didn’t need her, but that He chose her.  She is a humble servant.  She is a faithful servant.  She’s not the hero…she serves the Hero…with joy.

 Every time that I see that nativity scene, I’m reminded of what Mary must have felt in the first few moments that Jesus dwelt among us.  It wasn’t the completion of her story.  It wasn’t the end of her work in this life.  What Mary saw in that moment wasn’t just a baby.  What she saw in that moment was Immanuel…God with us.  She saw a promise fulfilled.  She was faithful, and God used her.  What does He want to do with you today?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Debbie Williams permalink
    December 13, 2011 8:43 pm

    That picture blows me away. What a strong and faithful servant Mary was. I am in awe.

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