This time of year, in the Advent Season, the beautiful song, “Mary Did You Know” becomes one of the anthems for Christmas all over the radio (including Sirius XM) evidently. To me, what is always interesting and incredible is the simple life Mary would have had, and lived, prior to God’s interruption. You see, when Mary said, “Yes,” her simple, contrite, obscure life ended.
A few years ago, I was reading an article on the Advent Season that struck me. It was really a direct statement that carried much weight in truth, and gave me a new perspective. Here it is: “Most of God’s beginnings are found in endings” (David Jeremiah). And I see truth in so many situations, including my own. I also see this concerning Mary, and yes, Joseph ~ no doubt.
I shared 2 weeks ago that Mary was a Jewish girl, in her low teens, when the Angel appeared and interrupted her life with an incredible announcement and revelation. Mary had a low profile existence. Not simple in the realm of mind, or heart, or character – but rather, her life was not complicated. Mary was from Nazareth, a small town in Galilee. Her parents weren’t notable, or powerful, or rich.
As customary in Jewish tradition, her marriage would be arranged. Her parents found a good man, Joseph, who was a carpenter by trade. He was raised to be honest, and faithful, and to keep the Law. Things seemed to be rather simple, low profile, and to a large extent, comfortable.
In an instant, with an appearance and an announcement, that would change Mary and Joseph’s life forever. Everything that was once simple and secure became incredibly risky, uncertain, and dangerous. When Mary said, “Yes!” to God, to supernaturally and miraculously conceive a child as a virgin, through the work of the Holy Spirit, Mary knew that whatever was simple would be no longer.
But Mary, did you know?
No, she could not have known everything in advance, or even very early on. But God, in His infinite love and kindness, would unfold it to her through the birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection of His Son ~ the One Who He would trust Mary and Joseph to raise, because Mary couldn’t begin to imagine or fathom all that she would face as the mother of Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God.
Here are a few things she probably did know:
- That in the little town of Nazareth, mouths would be talking; rumors would be spreading; stones could be hurled at her; that people (including family) could, or would, reject, disown, and perhaps totally shun her; and that before any of this happened, Joseph would probably “call off” their engagement in order to save his reputation and protect his family name.
- Mary probably felt that she would be alone, with child ~ left to raise Him by herself.
- That she still had lots of unanswered questions. There were no simple answers. No simple explanations. No simple reasons to give to her family and friends that would help them understand and accept it.
For Joseph, a visit from the Angel of the Lord was necessary: “But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” … When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus” (Matthew 1:20-25).
Here is what’s fascinating: As our deliverance was beginning, Mary, and even Joseph’s simple life, was ending. Like so many other things in life ~ there is no beginning without an ending.
Yet for us to be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus, there had to be an ending… a difficult, scary, and risky ending to the simple life, the only life, that Mary and Joseph knew or could even anticipate. So in many ways, Mary is not just the mother of our Lord whom God selected, she is the reminder that God’s greatest gifts are found in new beginnings that are preceded by difficult, challenging, and uncertain endings.
I believe today, some 2,000+ years later, if Mary and Joseph could speak to us right now, here would be their words: Accept God’s will and plan, whatever it is or may be! For He is the God of the impossible and miraculous!
So why not let this Christmas be your decision point… your moment of risk… your call to decision… to obey God’s call and to give Jesus full access into your life? Not just through your words, but through your actions.
The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God — children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God (John 1:9-13)
Let us receive He Who has come, Who is here, and Who will come again! Let’s worship, not worry. Let’s contribute, not complain. Let’s hope, not hinder. Let’s rejoice, not refrain! He alone is worthy!