We are about to enter the Christmas season once again, a season when we are surrounded by colourful lights, tinsel, trees and most importantly, family. Personally, one of my favourite things about Christmas is the nativity scenes that appear in gardens, on cards and of course, in schools
They always evoke childhood memories when It was so easy to imagine the star in the East brightly shining over the little town of Bethlehem. The whole thing warms the heart. However, this Christmas season I have been led to reflect on the events that took place prior to the birth of our Lord on those Judean hills two thousand years ago. I am re-encountering the young Jewish maiden known to us by the name of Mary, the mother of Jesus, or Miriam as she would have been known to her Jewish family and friends.
Having spent almost ten years of my life in Brazil, I witnessed first-hand an unhealthy extreme view of Mary held by so many, Yet, I do wonder if we evangelicals haven’t sometimes gone to the other extreme and missed out on the significance of this gentle, godly character loved and chosen by God.
This leads me back to the Biblical text in Luke 1:26-38, and I find myself asking such questions as what it meant to be a “highly favoured one,” was such a status specifically for Mary, or is it possible today? What were the cultural implications of such a high calling and how did the Lord respond to such sensitivities? And what can we learn from Mary’s response to it all? This was a significant moment, not just in the life of this young maiden from Nazareth, but also in the plan of redemption for the nation and indeed the world. In fact, I believe as we pause to reflect, many lessons can be gleaned from this beautiful story, I invite you to do that and as you do listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit apply timeless principles so beautifully displayed in Mary’s life, to your own.
Pastor Rob Cooper