“Today in the town of David, A Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord”. Luke 2:11
That is probably one of the most famous and remembered scriptures in the Bible. But lets back up a minute.” A Savior has been born to you” ……..who birthed our Savior? This is an intriguing question to me. What about Mary? Who was she and what was her life like before this momentous event? How did it change after?
Can you imagine? Luke 1: 26-35, lets consider these scriptures a minute. God sent the angle Gabriel to Nazareth to visit a virgin named Mary. The first thing the angel said to her when he greeted her was, you are highly favored, the Lord is with you. Instead of bringing great joy, this troubled Mary. Gabriel reassured her, telling her not to be afraid, that she had found favor with God. Then he drops the bombshell that she will conceive and give birth to a son and she was to name him Jesus. Gabriel goes on to say that Jesus would be great and called the Son of the Most High, that God would give Him the throne of his father David and He would reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; His kingdom would never end.
Mary wondered out loud how this could be given the fact that she was a virgin. Once again Gabriel spoke mighty powerful words to Mary, saying the Holy Spirit would come on her and the power of the Most High would overshadow her. The Holy One to be born would be called the “Son of God”
This called for a little research on my part into what life was like for a young woman living in those times. Mary lived under her fathers authority and was trained to protect the honor of her father. She could only speak to men when spoken to, she had to dress according to social standings and behave with exceedingly good manners.. Otherwise she would bring shame upon her father.
A woman was to be veiled, to be otherwise could result in divorce, they received little or no education, friendships were limited to other women and they were not taught the Law of God. Women did not eat with male guests and men of the time were discouraged from talking to women.
A husband could divorce his wife without her consent for a variety of reasons ranging from unchastity, burning a meal, or if he simply found someone he deemed more suitable. It was a society that placed women in the same category as oxen, donkeys or other possessions.
At the same time, women managed the household, the budget, cooked, cleaned, reared and educated the children, but seemingly all under the husbands direction.
I read that Jewish men of that time, thanked God they had not been born a Gentile, not been born a slave, or had not been born a woman. Oh my, what a challenging place to live, in fact, I doubt ,many women of today would stand still for such treatment.
Is it any wonder that Mary was “greatly troubled”? How in the world would she ever explain a pregnancy? Why did the angel visit her, a lowly woman? Who in their right mind would believe that she became pregnant by the Holy Spirit?
There were obvious implications for Mary, people might reject her, to be pregnant while engaged at that time, was a scandalous thing. If she were suspected of being unfaithful it could mean being single the rest of her life, being ridiculed and even being put to death. Plus if her father did not believe her and rejected her, she could be forced into a lifetime of begging or prostitution just to survive.
However, with a dignity and grace that I respect, Mary answered, “I am the Lord’s servant, May your word to me be fulfilled.”
Period, it was settled in her mind.
Seriously, how does one cope as Mary did, she was soon to be the Mother of the one who redeemed us all. She was to give birth to a perfect and hold child. She was pregnant with holiness and purity but yet she could not answer the questions and disbelief that surely had to be pounding at her from all directions.
I heard someone mention that Mary was the only person who has ever shared a vessel with God. That is a wondrous thing. We have no idea what it is like to be able to say that, let alone do that. She literally carried the Lord our God in her earthly and delicate body. That gives a whole new meaning to the term “Holy Glow”
Mary had to have struggled with the task set before her, there had to be joy yes, but just as often fear, uncertainty and a feeling on being unworthy.
It is amazing to me to ponder the fact that God chose Mary to carry within her a holy child that was to save the world, that those two heartbeats were harmonized, for 9 months Mary’s heart and Jesus’ heart beat as one., what an incredible gift!
In giving this gift to Mary, God gave us all a gift.
Thank you God!