Sunday, December 11, 2011

One thing that bugs me about Christmas...

especially the way it is talked about in many of the (Protestant) churches I have attended in my lifetime is the general consensus that Mary doesn't matter much in the Christmas story. This morning, my daughter heard a sermon in which the pastor intimated that who Mary was and what she did isn't worthy of attention; perhaps her faith was strong, but she herself doesn't deserve special honor.

I disagree. She received the promise of the coming Christ child with faith, not doubt - as her famous uncle Zechariah, the priest, had done. She didn't try to keep her mysterious pregnancy a secret and slink away in the middle of the night as her famous fiancee, Joseph, tried to do. No, she faced the angel, listened to his message, and accepted her assignment, along with all the heartache, fear, insults, ostracism, shame, and mistreatment that surely flowed her way. After all, she was an unwed, poor, engaged, pregnant teenager living in a small town. 

I am not ashamed to say, "Wow! What an amazing woman. What courage. What faith. What strength. She is a woman worthy of our gratitude and honor and praise." After all, isn't that what the angel said and what Elizabeth said, and what countless men and women have said about her down thru the ages?

Angel: Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you... 
Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.

Elizabeth: Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear. But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your voice reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.

I don't care what any of those dudes say about my dearly beloved Mary - and it usually is "some dude" up there speaking disrespectfully of her - she remains one of the greatest women who has ever lived. Mary was the truest bearer of Good News, bringing the Light of the World into the world. Full of grace. Carrying The Truth within her. Highly favored. I could go on...

Instead I will stop here and simply say,
"Thank you, Mother Mary, for all you were and all that you did.
Blessed art thou among women - and men -
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus."

Postscript: I found this poem written about Mary. Beautiful.

1 comment:

Melanie said...

This is lovely, Gail, and I love the way the Bible puts it best...highly those are words to aspire to! I was struck by this today at our Christmas concert...I cannot fathom how Mary would have felt to be chosen by God & to obey so humbly & faithfully. I certainly think that her example of obedience is worthy of great attention! And I also think that God is very intentional in all that He does, so He specifically chose her for a reason to bring His Son into the world. You're right, she more than just some girl!