Part 9 of a series counting down to Christmas and the Messiah’s birth.
I’ve been thinking about this question: What criteria did God use for selecting the Messiah’s birth mother? Was He looking for personality, talent, and good looks? What about I.Q.? Was He interested in a top tier, upwardly mobile, take control super woman? Did any of that even matter? If not, then what did?
There were some non negotiable elements for whoever was selected. The Messiah had to be from Judah, of David’s line, and must come from a virgin. He must also be called a Nazarene. Well, God chose Mary, who was betrothed to a man from David’s line; and she remained a virgin until after the birth. They were from Nazareth, and after Egypt, they went home to raise their son in Nazareth.
But I think God was searching for something deeper. Mary possessed an inner strength sustained from a deep and abiding faith. Gabriel said some pretty incredible things to her. He said that God favored her and that she would deliver the Holy One, the son of David. Gabriel explained how she would be with child and yet remain a virgin. Being told that the power of the Most High would overshadow her would be scary enough. Can you imagine? Most girls would have fainted or gone screaming into the night. But not Mary. Her response was simply amazing, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” Was that the primary quality God was searching for?
The strength of her faith was strategically significant. What did Simeon say to Mary at Jesus’s consecration, “And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” She would have to endure; she would have to watch her son’s enemies abuse, beat and scourge him. She would have to endure the hatred and violence aimed at her son. How would she be able to stand at Golgotha and watch? Only a mother could do that.
Mary was amazing, and she was the Father’s choice. But His choice wasn’t based on her beauty, intelligence, or giftedness. It was based on her faith and her strength of character.
So this Christmas, let us honor Mary, for she stood up and faced the most difficult challenge any mother has ever faced. She gave birth to her son, and then raised her son to die.
Thank you Mary.