As we approach Christmas, it is very fitting that I conclude this series with the most well-known mother in the world, Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Mary was a young lady, around 16 years of age, and she was engaged to Joseph when the angel Gabriel appeared to her to deliver the news that she was chosen by God to be the mother of the Messiah.
Mary was an ordinary girl, but she was extraordinary in God’s sight. When Gabriel appeared to her, he greeted her with:
“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” (Luke 1:28). “But Mary was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:29-32).
What made Mary so highly favored by God?
Mary was engaged to Joseph, and yet Gabriel the angel told her that she would supernaturally conceive and give birth to the Son of God. She knew that this would possibly end her betrothal to Joseph, that she would most likely be humiliated publicly, and that she would face lots of hardship. Yet, Mary responded to Gabriel with, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).
Mary was a discerning, wise, and humble girl who had great faith. She had much to be concerned about, yet she chose God’s will over hers.
Her response reminds me of Jesus who prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if it’s possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine” (Matthew 26:42).
Mary was highly favored because God’s will and God’s ways took precedence over everything else in her life, and that’s why she had the great honor of carrying Immanuel, God with us, in her womb, giving birth to the Savior, “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Is it a wonder then that Mary rejoiced by singing:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
Holy is his name.
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” (Luke 1:46-52).
My takeaway from the life of Mary is this:
God lifts up the humble, and He favors those who trust Him with their whole heart. And as Jesus said during His Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8), Mary was pure in heart, and not only did she see the face of God, but she held Him in her arms, and she got to kiss His face.
Well, I pray that, just like Mary, we would humble ourselves before the Lord and allow God to lift us up (James 4:10). I pray that our hearts and our faith would be like Mary’s, whose life was surrendered to God. We are already highly favored if we have confessed Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and we are His children and His heirs (Romans 8:17). I pray that whatever we face next year, we will overcome “by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony” (Revelation 12:11).
So, in 2024, “May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).