I feel like I just blinked and the whole Christmas season passed. Though it feels like a blur, I can still look back and see memories being made, character being grown, and relationships being strengthened. And throughout it all, I must say I’ve had Mary on my mind this season.
Mary was only a teenager when an angel appeared and told her she would conceive the Messiah, of whom she’d heard prophesies about her whole life.
She readily and joyfully accepts her assignment (in spite of the risks to her relationship with her fiancée Joseph, their families, etc.). She says yes to God, even in spite of knowing the details of how it would all work out.
Fast forward about nine months. Mary could give birth any day now, but suddenly is required to travel 80 miles with Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Possibly by donkey, possibly by foot. Either way, this was a very pregnant woman traveling 80 slow miles.
Let’s just pause here for a sec.
I mean, honestly. If I was Mary and knew I could give birth to the Messiah any day, I don’t imagine I would have been quite so agreeable. My thought process probably would have gone something like this: Uh, God…seriously?? Did you hear what they’re asking of me? Let me politely remind you how I already said yes to this giant assignment you gave me of birthing the Messiah – surely you aren’t going to make me travel 80 miles on a donkey. Right, God? Right??
Maybe she had similar thoughts. Then again, maybe she didn’t.
Finally the time comes for Jesus to be born and there’s no available lodging anywhere in town. After 80 miles on a donkey this strong, determined, pregnant teen labors and delivers our Savior in a stable, surrounded by animals.
Let’s recap real quick: Mary accepted the assignment of being the mother of Jesus, daunting as that would have been. She then traveled 80 miles only to give birth to the Savior in a barn.
We’ll never know the thoughts that ran through her mind, but if it was me, it probably would have been something along the lines of: This whole being the mother of Jesus thing is absolutely incredible, God. But, uh, a barn? Really? This is The Promised One, your son—why on earth would you let him be born in a barn?
Basically all Mary knew from the angel that visited her when she conceived was that Jesus would grow up to reign over a great kingdom. Fast forward 33 years and imagine banking on THAT promise from a human perspective, then witnessing your perfect son going to trial and being crucified, the most horrible of deaths. What a horrifying turn of events.
But through her sorrow, Mary believed Jesus when he said he’d rise again in three days. She was steadfast. Steadfast. Though time and time again things didn’t go as she expected, she kept saying yes to God. And you know what? All of God’s promises came true. He was faithful, as he is today and every day.
Though his promises came true in ways that were unexpected and maybe even seemed a bit backward to Mary in the moment, his promises still came true. Because he had a bigger, better plan than she could have dared to dream.
You see, God’s big-picture plan extended to all of humanity whereas Mary could only see the plan through the lens of her life in that moment. But still, she said yes to God, again and again.
Can you imagine if she hadn’t?
In this coming year, I pray for everyone who reads this to receive the strength, the steadfastness, and the faith Mary exhibited. I pray that when you step out in faith to follow God and then roadblocks pop up, that you will still see God moving for the good of humanity and keep saying yes to his plan. I pray that God’s goodness would not be brought to trial in your mind when problems come (and they will come), but that your faith in God’s character would lead you forward in confidence.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33
Thanks for spending some of your valuable time reading! Here’s a quick update on me – the editing process for my middle grade novel, Power Up, is still rolling (rather slowly). It should be released this year, although I have no idea when at this point. I have a couple other works in progress that I’m excited about, although I did take a couple weeks off from writing over the holidays to be able to relax and celebrate the season with my awesome family. I hope you all had a great Christmas!
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