December 14: Mary’s Joy, Advent Day 19

Read Luke 1:26-51; Matthew 12:46-50

It’s sometimes hard to imagine that Mary the mother of Jesus needed His saving as much as we do. The truth is, though, she needed the amazing grace of Almighty God just as much as you and I.

I sometimes forget that God’s freely given favor was His doing alone, nothing more than His unmerited gift of grace that not even Mary could earn.

But why did God choose her? we might ask. We could ask the same of ourselves. Why has He chosen any of us to follow Him? To bear His Name? 

Yes, Mary was a sinner who needed the saving grace God would provide through the Son she herself would bear. So when Gabriel told Mary what he had been sent to say, it caught her off guard. Because Mary knew better than anyone just how much she needed that unmerited favor.

“Greetings, you who are highly favored! The LORD is with you” (Lk. 1:28).

God’s choice in Mary, His pleased favor to birth His Son through her came not because of anything she did or because of who she was. God pursued her with His grace because that is what He does. God Himself declared her highly favored.

His presence went with Mary. He graced her with it. Indeed, Almighty God pursued Mary the mother of Jesus Christ with His grace. And it frightened her.

“But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be” (Lk. 1:29).

Then Jesus arrived, and Mary was never the same. When the shepherds showed up having been given the message that the King of kings had arrived in a stable in that tiny town at the bottom of the hill, when Simeon prophesied in the temple courts eight days later, Mary wondered in a different way.

Amazed at what Simeon told her, she and her new husband were amazed. Even when twelve-year-old Jesus ran off without letting his parents know where He was, even after she didn’t understand why He’d worried them so, even then she kept all these things in her heart. (Lk. 2:50)

Jesus gave her mind something to treasure. He gave her heart something to keep. For God had arrived in the flesh and she got to be part of it. He let her know His joy unlike any she’d ever imagined.

Indeed, God with Us, Immanuel changed Mary’s life forever. He changed life forever for you and me too. Have we let His presence, take our deeply troubled thoughts and turn them to treasures of joy?

brw

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