I have a nativity that I leave up all year long. It’s on the top shelf of my desk at work. I know it’s there, but don’t spend much time looking at it and pondering its meaning throughout most of the year. But the other day, it caught my eye. Such a familiar scene, but it was really speaking to me. I took it off the shelf, dusted it off and just stared at it. I held it for a long time, looking at the figures and thinking about the birth of Jesus.
How grateful I am for the baby Jesus, Savior of the whole world. And then I was struck by how grateful I am for Mary, His mother. She was a young, faithful girl, favored by God, to give birth to the Son of the Most High. I was compelled to find Mary in scripture. What did I know about her beyond Jesus’ birth? I needed to know more about her.
I started with Luke 1:26-38. I found the story I was looking for; the angel Gabriel comes to tell Mary of God’s plan for her. Her fear is evident, but her faith is unmistakable. I was enthralled. I continued to read on in the book of Luke to the birth of Jesus, the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, His Baptism, His Temptation and His Ministry. I read about Jesus’ arrest, His Crucifixion, Death, Burial and Resurrection.
As I read, I had to give praise to God for Jesus, my Lord and Savior and all that He did for me!
But, I had his mother Mary on my mind and in my heart. I was astonished that the angel Gabriel came but once. Mary had a single encounter with a messenger from God. Her faith was so strong that she could hold onto that single message all the years of Jesus’ life. There were no weekly reminders, no brush-up visits from heaven, no friends who’d understand and could reassure her it was real. All that not-knowing, and still she kept going, faithfully.
Again, I picked up the nativity from my desk and looked it over. Mary is holding her infant son. But she knew full well that someday she would hold Him at His crucifixion. (John 19:25) Mary was there for Jesus’ first breath and His last. It is powerful to me to think of her faith and her resolve based on faith and love and the words of Gabriel.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was an awesome, godly woman who was obedient and trusting, and loyal to God. She made the perfect mother for Jesus as she humbly submitted and did all that God had instructed. She is a great example of living a life that is pleasing to God.
And all this is wrapped up in my dusty, porcelain nativity. The Nativity has power. Jesus is born!