Mary was not one in a million.
She was more than that! I get amazed when I think about how special Mary must have been. God was sending His Son. Jesus was the Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us. God chose to send His Son to the earth through human means: being born of a woman. Of all the women that have ever lived on the earth, God chose Mary. She wasn’t one in a million. She wasn’t even one in a billion.
Mary was 1 in 108 billion!
That’s the estimate of people that have ever lived on the earth. 108 billion! This girl was special. God handpicked her.
The Mother of the Messiah
Sometimes you need to know when to get out of the way. This is one of those times. We are in the final two days of our 12 days of Christmas series, and we are looking at Mary, the mother of Jesus. As I was preparing and studying, I realized there are several aspects of the story I want to share with you. So, today we are going to look at more Scripture than usual. I am simply going to step back and let the Bible speak for itself. I’ll add a few thoughts here and there, but let’s simply look at the girl God chose to deliver the Savior.
As we read these verses, focus on Mary. What kind of woman was she? What was she thinking? Feeling? How did she react to such incredible news?
Mary, the Mother of Christmas
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
I love the responses of Mary. She was open and real. First, she was a little freaked out. She may have lived in “Bible times,” but angels showing up at your door was never normal. And you have to respect anyone with enough courage to have a conversation with an angel. Um, I’m a virgin! But she is filled with reluctant hope. It seems as though she wants to believe, but it all seems a little surreal. May your words be fulfilled.
What would you do in this situation? Mary has seen an angel. She is going to be pregnant with God’s baby. Her husband is going to know he isn’t the father. Talk about joy mixed with anxiety! If my wife were going through something like this, I know exactly what she would do!
Run to her sister.
Wouldn’t she talk to you? No way. I know where I rank. Second at best. Third when she needs her mom for the really big stuff. For the first few years we were married, if I were cooking dinner, Kristen would call her sister to “double check” my recipe! And I’m the main cook in the family! But I digress.
Mary was no different. She went to her relative, Elizabeth to process everything.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “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 greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Mary got the answer she was looking for. Sometimes, we just need a little encouragement and confirmation from our family and friends that we aren’t crazy. Fortunately for Mary, Elizabeth and her husband had experienced an angel of their own!
As crazy as these events had been, it all started to fall in line for Mary. She was stepping into the plan that God had laid out for her before the creation of the world. We know this because of a few verses that we usually skip over in the Christmas story. That’s a shame because these next few verses are some of the most beautiful words of the Bible when you consider the story in which they are found.
And Mary said:
“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.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
-Luke 1: 46-55
No wonder God considered Mary to be 1 in 108 billion!
A Final Thought
Before we go, I want to highlight one phrase from the verses we have already read. It is the crux of this entire story, and it came from the mouth on an angel.
“No word from God will ever fail” -Gabriel
This is true in the Christmas story, and it is true in our lives today. Throughout all of history, one thing remains. God’s words do not fail.
Mary’s story is a beautiful example of this.
This Christmas, as you sing carols and open presents, let it be a reminder that God’s words never fail. Christmas is a 2,000-year-old celebration of this reality!
Question: What does the Christmas story mean to you? What do you think Mary had to experience in this moment? How would you have reacted? You can leave a comment by clicking here.