Christmas, Keeping the Faith

The “YES” That Sent One Young Woman On A Trajectory Of Greatness

You are Mary.

Young, engaged to be married to a man – a good man – but a man twice your age. You are chaste, a virgin still, in keeping with societal expectations of presenting a pure bride to her husband.

Things are swimming along and then <<<BOOM>>> your whole world is shaken.

An angel rocks up to say “hello” with an ulterior motive. Something like, “God is so pleased with you and admires your holy character!”

Your head is reeling. You’re confused at the sudden attention.

“Don’t worry!” the angel says, “God has a surprise for you… You’re going to fall pregnant and give birth to a son called Jesus. He will be the son of God!”

Lifting your jaw from the floor you manage to ask, “How? I’ve never had sex!”

And the angel gives the most obvious response.

“The Holy Spirit will hover over you.”

It’s right about here that most thinking women would have either erupted into fits of laughter at the absurdity of the proclamation, or run away – far, far away. But you – you of holy character – you absorb the news and nod your head.

“Ok… I’m ready.”

Move over Wonder Woman, you’ve got nothing on Mary.

Stepping out of Mary’s shoes now, perhaps you can see why she was chosen. She believed with the faith of a child – she was apparently aged as young as 13. She trusted God to meet her needs. And she said yes.

Even Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, who she went to stay with for three months, made special mention of her faith.

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Luke 1:45)

I don’t think Mary was perfect but there’s no doubting she was exceptional. And it really comes down to that line – she believed God would do what he said he would do.

One of my favourite carols is a modern rendering of Mary’s part in the nativity story by Mark Lowry.

Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Did she know?

No doubt she had an inkling but Mary can’t have known the gravity of the role she would play or, more importantly, the role her son would play.

Her “yes” set her on a trajectory of greatness.

Scary to think that if Mary was alive today and faced with the same circumstances, she would be a ripe candidate for abortion.

Would you be willing to say “yes” to a crazy proposal like Mary’s? God has a way of turning crazy proposals into enduring stories that speak of his love.

Blessed are you who believe what God has said to you will be accomplished.

Merry Christmas!

First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday December 22, 2014.

(With special thanks to the lovely Karen Zainal who gave me permission to use her stunning Madonna and Child artworks in this post.)

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4 Comments

  1. Carol says

    You are so right, Claire, today the Virgin Mary would be under pressure to have an abortion.
    On another point, Joseph and Mary were ‘betrothed’, a ceremony which was actually marriage, in their culture at that time. The bride went to live with her husband at some time after that, and it would have been obvious to some close friends and relatives that Mary and Joseph had not had an opportunity for intimacy, so could have suspected adultery.
    I believe that Mary was perfect, and was preserved from inheriting the taint of Adam and Eve’s sin, that gives the rest of us such a struggle against temptation! Only a woman who was perfect in every way would be a suitable to bear, nurse and raise the Infant God.
    Thank you for your wonderful Christian witness Claire, and may every joy and blessing be yours at Christmas.

  2. It’s an honor to see my art posted along with your reflections! As a Catholic convert, it’s also refreshing to see a Protestant be unafraid of extolling Mary’s virtues, without fear of being accused of “worshipping” her! 🙂

  3. Thank you Claire.

    Mary may have indeed had an inkling of her role because the angel greeted Mary with ‘blessed are you among women!’ (Luke 1:28 NKJV)

    This same praise was also given to Jael, who crushed the head of the tyrant Sisera (Judges 4-5)
    ‘Most blessed among women is Jael … Blessed is she among women’ (Judges 5:24 NKJV)

    And Mary’s child would crush the head of the ultimate tyrant in fulfilment of Genesis 3:15.

    In regard to abortion, King Herod tried to kill baby Jesus, and although he missed, he killed all the baby boys in Bethlehem and it’s vicinity (Matthew 2:16-18), which is quite sobering to consider.

    Praise God that Jesus had the victory.  Merry Christmas Claire.

  4. Live and Toasty from Level Five in Hell !! says

    Hi Christians !! Just dropped by to quickly say “Hi” 🙂

    Hope that the festive season is both enjoyable and safe for you all.

    May 2015 be a year of happy, healthy kids and lots of love…….. errrrm and atheism 😉

    Merry Xmas to ya Claire and all yer Family ‘n’ Friends.

    Cheerio then, from Neil xo

    P.s Looking forward to enjoying your words ‘n’ stuff again next year.

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