Mary’s Christmas

In the lead up to perhaps one of the most celebrated festivities of the year, let’s take a relook at Christmas. Granted that Jesus is the reason for this season, we now turn the spotlight on the one through whom it happened – Mary.

Can you imagine if Mary had refused to cooperate with angel Gabriel’s heavenly directive? Think about it. Here’s this carefree teenager excitedly planning and awaiting her marriage to the brawny, bearded carpenter she’s been betrothed to, when she suddenly gets accosted by an angel informing her that she’d conceive supernaturally and deliver a divine baby who would be heir to the throne of His father David, and whose Kingdom will have no end. 

And all this before even tying the nuptial knot with her fiancè. 

Well, if the Blessed Virgin had concluded that her reputation and relationships were more important than this scandalous scenario, then heaven’s prophetic timeline would’ve undergone a momentary wobble. But, thank God, this humble handmaiden of the Lord swiftly acquiesced and submitted to the archangel, “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”  

And so, nine months later, in a city not her own and in a smelly animal shelter, this heavily pregnant girl laboured and gave birth to the Son of the Most High God, Who is the Saviour of the world. 

She had no mother nor midwife to tend to her, no epidurals to alleviate her pain, no sterilised towels to clean the afterbirth, and no balloons and flowers to bring her cheer.

Instead, she had a hovering (and probably traumatised) fiancè, some swaddling clothes to wrap the baby in, and a feeding trough which had to double up as the newborn’s crib. 

This was the first Christmas. There was no twinkling tree festooned with tinsel, no red-nosed reindeer dashing through the snow, no jingling bells, no ‘hohoho-ing’ Santa Claus, no drummer boy, and no carolers singing outside the stable to welcome the baby Jesus into His world. 

There was, however, a spectacular Sound and Light extravaganza which bedazzled the skies with the blazing glory of Heaven and hosts of angels erupting in joyful symphony to announce the birth of the Prince of Peace. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”

As the audience of humble shepherds quickly rushed to Bethlehem to find the Baby Yeshua, “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

This brave and obedient young woman already had a lot to process from all the supernatural events of the past nine months, but that was only the beginning. 

After the celestial broadcast, and the prophetic utterances of Simeon and Anna in the Temple, and then the wise men who arrived from the East to worship the King of the Jews, Mary would’ve many more things to ponder and treasure regarding her Firstborn’s earthly existence.

Fast forward 20 centuries later, I wonder what Mary might be pondering now, seated among the great cloud of witnesses and watching all the glitzy re-enactments of that first Christmas. As I’m contemplating this, I sense an invitation for us to pause and ponder too.

Birthdays are great occasions to celebrate milestones of growth, but Mary and the early Christians never made a big deal of Jesus’ birthday. In fact, the date or season wasn’t even recorded. Why? Perhaps because God knew what Christmas would morph into over the centuries, and didn’t license it, like He did the eternal Feasts of Israel.  

The result of our human tendency to create idols out of man-made traditions has successfully diverted this darkening world from the real purpose of the first advent of Christ, which is His Second Coming. 

However, since December is all about Jesus’ birthday, let’s celebrate and get our gifts ready for Him. What will we give the ‘Birthday Boy’ on the 25th?

Are we planning to bring old, recycled presents to the crib? The same old jaded hearts, apathetic lives, narcissistic worship, and spiritual pride, but all beautifully wrapped up in the finest foil?

Or will it be:

Gold – lives refined by fire and shaped by His hand, 
Frankincense – continuous prayers arising as sweet incense before His throne, and 
Myrrh – lives laid down from our own desires and crucified for His glory and purpose?

‘Joy to the World, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King!’


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