Martin Luther in one of his Christmas sermons on the Incarnation preached: “Wherefore, Saint Bernard declared there are here three miracles: that God and man should be joined in this Child; that a mother should remain a virgin; that Mary should have such faith as to believe that this mystery would be accomplished in her. The last is not the least of the three. The Virgin birth is a mere trifle for God; that God should become man is a greater miracle; but most amazing of all is that this maiden should credit the announcement that she, rather than some other virgin had been chosen to be the mother of God. In years of meditating on the Biblical record of the nativity, I have often lingered on the portion concerning Mary; her response to such an overwhelming message when, in the understatement of understatements, it was least expected. Luther was certainly moved by his own meditation on the young woman who carried the Son of God in her womb.
Mary’s response to the angel’s announcement is one of the finest confessions of faith in human history. Not knowing all that it would entail, she, nevertheless, replied with no apparent hesitancy, “Be it unto me according to your word. Her engagement to be married was shattered by the prophetic circumstance soon to be reality. How do you explain to your betrothed that you are pregnant, yet have never slept with a man, least of all him? How do you manage days of journey on the back of a donkey in your last month of pregnancy? How do you accept the un-antiseptic and uncomfortable accommodation for delivery? How do you care for a flesh and blood infant who is very God of very God? Shepherds coming to the stable hours after giving birth; Magi coming to your humble home in Bethlehem; soldiers coming with intent to kill. Who else will come? When? There are no directions to follow or guide book with details of what to expect next.
Do you not wonder what must have coursed through Mary’s brain? What was the content of her ponderings, the things she kept deep in her heart; from which she drew as years later Dr. Luke interviewed her? What did Simeon’s words that a sword would pierce her own soul do to her outlook on life each day? What was it like as a sinner to mother a sinless boy? To ask him why he put them through their anguished anxiety when he was missing from them three days in Jerusalem? God gave us His Son to care for and now we have lost him at age twelve? How embarrassing! Yet neither she nor Joseph understood his explanation. How many times was that the case? You must wonder if Mary thought back, or how often, to those words she spoke to Gabriel, “Be it unto me according to your word.
What about you? Have you not also said to the Lord at one time, “I am yours, be it unto me according to YOUR desire? Is that not the essential confession of true faith? Look at all you know from the brief accounts in Scripture of Mary’s life, and fill in the rest with your own pondering. And look at your own life and ask, Would I rather be a man or maidservant of the Lord of all creation, even with thorns or soul piercing sword, then one to whom He will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you? Mary’s faith is a precious nugget of hope to us, who like her are sinners, who do not always understand what God is saying, or what is happening, or what will take place next in your life. If you are His, and you believe it by your faith, then Mary’s song (Luke 1:46-55) is your song! Read it and put yourself in Mary’s place. If the King of Kings is your King surely every generation one day will call you blessed, even as Mary was blessed through all that “be it unto me entailed for her; and what it entails for you. Mary’s hope is yours too!
Merry Christmas to you from the Paul Anderson Youth Home family!
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