Have Yourself a Mary Christmas

by Rodney Shotter

LUKE 1:26-38

There are three 3 lessons we can learn from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, which are found in Luke 1:26-38.

    Do you remember the last time you filled out a job application?
    You have to give them all your vital statistics, summarize your background, your education, your experience. Many of them now ask that all important question: what is it that makes you uniquely qualified for this position? How do you answer that question without coming off as a snob? Employers assume your availability, but what they really want to discover is your liabilities (things that would make you unsuited for the job) and your usability- what skills, talents will help you do the job.
    But God doesn’t operate this way. Mary teaches us God is not as interested as your abilities as He is in your availability. No matter who you are, God can use you. Vs. 26-27. Look at Mary – she was an ordinary girl with some serious liabilities:
    She was young. Mary was pledged to be married. At that time, it was customary for girls to be engaged at 12-13 years of age (around the time of reaching puberty). One reason for this was to ensure girls maintained their virginity until marriage. It’s very possible that Mary could have been as young as 12-13, or as old as 16 when Gabriel visited her. You and I might think this girl is too young for God to use her, but apparently God didn’t think so. But also
    • She was poor. We read Luke 2:22-24 that Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple to be circumcised. They were required to bring one of two offerings: either a lamb for a burnt offering and a dove or a pigeon for a sin offering. If a lamb was too expensive, the parents could bring a second dove or pigeon instead. Mary and Joseph brought the two doves, because they couldn’t afford a lamb. You and I might have thought this family is too poor to provide for Jesus but
    apparently God didn’t think so. Mary was young, and poor, but also
     She was from Nazareth. Apparently, Mary was a young girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Nazareth was a town with a bad reputation. Remember what Nathanael said when He learned Jesus from Nazareth? John 1:46 And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” … You and I might have thought No way. No telling what this girl grew up seeing and hearing and doing in a bad town like that. Apparently, God didn’t take this into consideration in choosing Mary to be mother to His Son.
    Mary was young, poor, and from Nazareth—all characteristics make her seem unusable by God. But God chose Mary for one of the most important jobs He ever asked anyone to do.
    Through God’s choice of Mary, He teaches us: no matter who you are, the Lord can use you.
    You might think you are too young, that you don’t have enough money or talent for God to use you. You might think your background or past mistakes might make it impossible for God to use you. Don’t limit God. He can use you if you trust Him. Out of all the queens, princesses, daughters of the wealthy and influential, God chose a poor teenager from a town with a bad reputation to be the mother of Jesus. She had two vital characteristics God looks for: humility and faith. She knew she
    wasn’t worthy of the honour God offered her. Yet she still believed God could use her, if she trusted Him.  Do you believe God can use you? Or do you think you’re too small—too young, too poor, too weak to be used by Him?
    If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito. Do you think you are useless to God? Think again. God is
    searching for humble people to take part in His amazing plans. Will you be one of those people in 2022?
     Mary teaches us that no matter who you are, God can use you. She also teaches us
    There are some things you just don’t want to go through alone; Christmas, for instance. I don’t know of anybody who likes to spend Christmas all by themselves. I’m sure there are some, but most of us want to be share the celebration with people near and dear to us. Let’s pray that we will be free to do But we don’t like to go through trouble alone, either. If we get sick with nobody to sit up with us or comfort us, we’ll probably be more miserable. When we lose our job, or our spouse or our child, we need somebody with us to help you make it through. Of course, the One Person we need more than anybody else when we face problems is the Lord. Mary teaches us that no matter what problems we face, the Lord is with us.
    The angel says in vs. 30, “Do not be afraid.” But we wouldn’t blame Mary if she were afraid. Imagine the fears she might experience as a result of her pregnancy:
    • Possible divorce by JosephJoseph at first assumes that Mary has been unfaithful to him. What else would he have thought? He decided to divorce her (which, according to their law, was necessary to end the engagement) before he was told in a dream that Mary’s baby was, in fact, conceived by the Holy Spirit. But right now, Mary doesn’t know how all of that will work out. But she does know God will be with her, whatever Joseph does.
    Possible rejection by her family. Did Mary’s family believe her story that the baby growing inside her was the Son of God? Would you believe that if your daughter told you that story? We are never told anything about Mary’s parents’ reaction to her pregnancy. But it’s very possible that they didn’t believe her story. But Mary believes God is with her, no matter how her parents may react.
    Certain rejection by her community. Imagine the gossip that must have circulated Nazareth. The people have Nazareth would have accused her of adultery—a sin that was not looked on lightly as it is today. It’s likely that Mary was shunned by those who had once been her friends. But Mary believes God is with her, even if her friends abandon her.
     Possible death by stoning According to the law, this was the penalty for adultery. By New Testament times stoning was rare, but it was still a possibility. The message from the angel totally changed Mary’s life. She was getting ready to be married and live a normal life. But now her life would be anything but normal. How could she be calm and courageous as she faced all of the problems that her pregnancy might cause? She would cling to the words the angel spoke in vs. 28: “The Lord is with you.” The Lord would be with her. He would help her. He would give her the strength and courage to face anything. The same Lord makes that same promise to you and to me.
    Psalm 118:6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?
    Hebrews 13:5 …For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    Mary’s story teaches us that no matter what problems you and I face, the Lord is with us. Mary faced the possibility of rejection from Joseph, her family, and her community and even the possibility of being stoned, but she knew that the Lord would never abandon her. One of the titles given to Jesus was “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” One of the great themes of the Old Testament is the concept of God living with His people. Jesus is our Immanuel. He is “God with us.”
    Human life was meant to be dramatic. We are meant to be God-inhabited. Our religion is not organized around keeping God at a distance. It allows us to go see him when we want. If we really want God to be with us, then our lives will be different from ordinary human life – we will be peculiar people!
    We are meant to be God-inhabited. Jesus came to make God’s presence a conscious, living reality in our lives. Whatever problems you are facing right now–whatever worries and fears are harassing your heart–don’t let them discourage you. No matter what your problems, the Lord is with you. Bring those problems to Him and trust Him to work them out, and He will, just as surely as He worked them all out for Mary.
    Two lessons from Mary: no matter who you are, God can use you. No matter what problems you face, God is with you. Look at one more:
    A little boy asked his mother where he came from, and also where she had come from as a baby. His mother gave him a tall tale about a beautiful white-feathered bird. The boy ran into the next room and asked his grandmother the same question and received a variation on the bird story. He then scampered outside to his playmate with the comment, “You know, there hasn’t been a normal birth in our family for three generations.”
    The Bible records several instances where there was not a “normal birth.” God sent a son to Abraham and Sarah long after they thought having a baby was possible. In Judges 13, an angel of the Lord told Manoah and his barren wife, Hannah, would have a special son they would name Samson. John the Baptist’s mother, Elizabeth, was in her sixties or seventies when she gave birth to the prophet. But none of those special births was as amazing as the birth of Jesus Christ. His birth
    was a virgin birth conceived by the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit.
    Now that sounds even more abnormal today than possibly it did then. But look at Mary’s reaction in vs. 38. Even though the angel’s news was unbelievable, she believed it. Mary didn’t understand it, but she also didn’t doubt it. She believed that no matter what He has promised, the Lord CAN DO IT.
    Jesus’ miraculous conception remains impossible to understand by human reason alone. God chose not to explain the details of it to us. The real issue is not whether a virgin can conceive; the real issue is whether anything is impossible for God.
    Mary knew that a virgin birth is impossible, but she also believed that “nothing is impossible with God.” And if he considered it necessary for the salvation of mankind, then she was obedient to God’s will. Whatever God promises, He delivers. No matter what He promises, He will do it.
    What promises of God are you tempted to doubt? You’re reading the Bible one day, and your eyes light on one of the promises of God:
    John 11:26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
    1 John 5:14 Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
    John 10:10 I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

    Do you ever read promises like these and say, “Yeah, right. Like that’s gonna happen. Not for me, not now, not after all I’ve been through.” But those promises are made by God. It doesn’t matter how impossible they seem—there is nothing, nothing nothing impossible with God. Whatever He promises, He always does, without fail. What you have to do is what Mary did: believe and obediently say, “Let it be to me according to Your Word, O Lord.”
    ‘Little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul’.—Anonymous. That’s the way it worked for Mary. That’s the way it can work for you, if you will believe. So Mary can teach you and me:
  • No matter who you are, the Lord can use you.
  • No matter what problems you face, the Lord is with you.
  • No matter what He has promised, the Lord can do it. Won’t you take these truths to heart this Christmas? Won’t you take them with you as you walk into 2022, into your home, your school, your work, and live out a Mary Christmas in your life?