Her wedding plans are up in smoke. Her fiancé may never want to speak to her again. Her reputation in the village is about to be tarnished forever. And she’s just been entrusted with a hugely daunting, some might say impossible responsibility. What does this remarkable young woman from Nazareth do?
She praises God and submits to His will.
‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my saviour…the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name…
I am the Lord’s servant…May it be to me according to Thy word.’
If we would like an example of obedient faith let us consider this godly young lady, Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. She is willing to see more than her own personal dreams and ambitions. She is willing to live for something greater, to glorify God and further His plan of salvation for the world, even should it mean sacrifice in the short term. She would surrender her womb, her arms, her heart and soul, her very life to serve the One she calls her Saviour.
Some might think of such religious fervour as extreme. We might imagine some of the neighbours talking, ‘Poor girl! Do you think has she lost the plot?’ Others, publically or privately, have great respect and admiration for people of faith. Whether it’s Martin Luther or Mother Teresa we find them inspiring and might feel like putting them on a bit of a pedestal.
However godly people never want attention for themselves. Time and again they shun personal attention, focussing our gaze on God and what He is doing, sending His Son into the world to be our Saviour, our Lord and Master, our Good Shepherd and Friend. And that’s what Mary has done here in Luke 2 in her expression of praise we call the Magnificat. She has pointed us to God.
‘My soul glorifies the Lord!’ she said, ‘His mercy extends to all who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants for ever just as He promised our ancestors.’
Mary had obviously been listening in the synagogue for this sounds so like the Old Testament, the Psalms of David or prophecies of Isaiah or Daniel. The nation of Israel had been humbled for generations but God had promised that from these modest remains He would build a global kingdom of people redeemed by His mercy, faithful to Him and practising righteousness.
God, ‘the Ancient of Days’, keeps His Word and fulfils His purposes. We do well to note - He punishes pride and rewards humble trust. He does what may seem impossible to us, bringing His Son to the world from a virgin’s womb, bringing a Saviour King for the whole world from an obscure little place like Nazareth.
He does mighty things, using little people who trust and obey and want to serve Him. Mary was willing to be part of God’s plan, an agent of His grace and she has been called ‘blessed’ ever since.
The question is are we willing to follow her example this Christmas and every day throughout the year? Are we willing to trust and put God first, welcome His Son as Saviour Lord in our hearts and lives and obey the leading of His Spirit in the Bible?
May it be so for each one of us and may the glory be His alone.