The Strange Choice of Mary
by Pastor Dan White
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She wasn’t a beauty queen. She never attended school. Her net worth was zero. Talent-wise, there was nothing to mention. Achievements? None. A panel of judges wouldn’t have given her résumé a second look. Using human standards to measure success and achievement, this young woman was a nobody, a failure.
She was low-class and unrefined in a society that honored and rewarded wealth, status, education, and power.
When it came time for her baby’s birth, the one man in town who could have provided her a somewhat decent place in his inn for the delivery of the infant sent her to his barn. Had it been the king’s daughter, he would have evicted a tenant in order to provide a room. But this girl, who was in the beginning stages of labor, was an unknown nobody.
No mom, no dad, no aunts, uncles, or friends were there for her during her pain, screams, and the suffering of giving birth. Had it been the princess, attendants would have cared for her every need. The press would have given a minute by minute update. The king’s court would have celebrated the birth and the ladies would have cried for joy. Elegant gifts from the wealthy and powerful would have poured in from lands near and far for the future prince. Royal blankets would have covered the newborn in downy warmth and comfort. A crib trimmed in gold leaf would have cradled the heir to the throne.
But not this baby. The cows’ feed trough held him. Some old rags kept the chill night air off him.
It’s puzzling that Mary was chosen to be the Mother of God and strange that an obscure village on the backside of nowhere among the lowly animals was the place of delivery. It’s strange.
But in all of this strangeness, Mary understood. In her Magnificant, she sang, “His mercy extends to those 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.”
The educated humanists and rationalists don’t get it and scatter their thoughts around trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. The wealthy scoff at it and are sent away empty to live in poverty of spirit and soul. Rulers fall from power betrayed by their promises to build heaven on earth in their image and run over anyone who is in their way.
But the humble are lifted up. That’s the way God works. Mary called it “mercy.” Her being chosen to be the Mother of God had nothing to do with human merit or achievement but had everything to do with God’s choice to “have mercy on whom I have mercy" (Romans 9:15).
Yes, Mary understood and rejoiced that the Lord been mindful of her humble state and that from then on, all generations would call her blessed because the Mighty One did great things for her! (Luke 1:48-49).
The Mighty One grants mercy to the humble. So on this Christmas, let us kneel before the lowly manger to worship and adore the Savior, Christ the Lord, who lifts up the humble and fills the hungry with good things.
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Well, yes, sort of... I'm not sure that the circumstances of the birth of Jesus would have been different had they not been humble. What impresses me of this Bible story is how much room Christ has for us even when we have so little for Him. He opens doors that so many attempt to close. He makes a way when so many try to sweep it away. The awe of the humble heart is that it is the humble heart that is able to see it and allow Jesus to remake it so that it too can partake. More here: http://managedsurrender.com/managed-surrender/mirrors/no-room/
The interesting description you present shows how the world perceives someone like Mary. In reality, she really was a princess, a descendant of the royal line of King David. But, she and her Child passed through the lives of others, unrecognized for who they really were/are! I love how you made that contrast between Mary's experience and that of a modern day princess, recognized as such. But, God knows and He selected, make that prepared, Mary to be the vessel for His perfect purposes, bringing her life out of the shadows. Praise the Lord, His mercy endures forever!