What is your favorite part of the Christmas story?
Is it the star? The angels appearing to the shepherds? The Magi traveling from afar? Or is it the fact that a mighty Savior was born in a tiny and dirty barn and placed in a manger?
We all have most likely heard this amazing story time and time again, and the message, the meaning, the truth of it all is nothing short of a miracle. Our King was born on earth that day.
As you read the account of Christ’s birth in Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2, you most likely have a favorite part that warms your heart each time. For me, it is not necessarily a part of the story, but instead the attitudes towards and reactions to the events. Specifically that of Mary and Joseph.
We all know Mary and Joseph as the earthly parents of Jesus, but we often don’t think of their marriage before and throughout Jesus’ life.
What really strikes me is the faith, the love, and the strength that they showed while still setting an example of an Ephesians 5:21-33 marriage.
Today I will start with Mary (Joseph will come in a separate post):
Mary is a true woman of God and an amazing example of a godly, respectful wife. Her first priority was to the Lord, and second to her husband. From the very beginning of the account we know, she is willing and ready for what the Lord has for her.
Here is a woman who is getting ready for the next step in her normal life at that time, getting ready to be betrothed to a man, when her whole world is turned upside down. An angel appears (Because you know…that happens every day…) and tells her that she will carry the Son of God before the poor girl has even experienced honeymoon sex (or any sex for that matter). And what is her response?“I am the Lord’s servant. May Your word to me be fulfilled.”
This girl is amazing. She is given probably the hardest challenge a woman can have in this time period and she takes it. Not only does she take it, she REJOICES over it! She visits her cousin, has what she already knows confirmed, and says:“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
She calls herself blessed, knowing the trials would be difficult, and praised the Lord continuously through her trials that were far greater than any other mother and wife that I know.
And this woman was an amazing wife. When her husband was called to travel to Bethlehem, she went. Though we do not know exactly how that conversation went down, we can only guess by her amazing demeanor and her trust in the Lord and her husband that she went willingly and without complant. I don’t know about you ladies out there, but I’m not sure how thrilled I would be about a long journey that probably lasted over a week…on a donkey…while I am 9 months pregnant. NO THANKS! Got another way God? Hey hubs, you think we can get a pass on this one?
Seriously, this woman is a beast. She completely follows the Lord’s command that wives should submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord (Ephesians 5:22).
She continues to show this when her husband can’t find a place for them to stay and they are forced to have the baby in a BARN and to lay her first born child in a MANGER. The best example I can come up with for how this would look in our lives today is if your husband forced you to come on a business trip, took the LONGEST way there, forgot to make hotel reservations and having you sleep in the car. I am not at all saying the Joseph did anything wrong here, but you have gotta think that Mary felt similar to what you may have felt in today’s example at that moment. Remember, the woman was probably in labor as this was happening.
This dedicated and faithful woman and wife stuck by her husband and gently, submissively followed him as the Lord let her.
My favorite part of the “Christmas story” is really what happens after the birth. Herod finds out about a possible Messiah being born in Bethlehem and orders all the new born boys to be killed. Ok, THAT is not my favorite part, but this is… Joseph (remember, he comes later this week) tells Mary that he had a dream and an angel told him to take her and their son to Egypt. This girl follows her man, trusts that he is hearing from the Lord, and goes to an un-known territory where she does not know where they will live, work, or how they will eat. I’m amazed by her faith.
Mary was an average young woman. She had no idea of the plans the Lord would have for her life. These plans were never easy. From conceiving and carrying a child with the threat of being stoned to death, to watching her child die the most terrible death that He possibly could. She trusted, she submitted, and she was blessed.
Mary was not sin-less. I’m sure there were many times she snapped at Joseph, pouted at their circumstances or questioned why she was chosen. But in the end, Mary submitted, as the Lord and her husband led her, and they guided her all the way through.
Wives, having trouble submitting? Unsure of what it looks like? I highly recommend studying this lady a little more and praying for a lesson in submission. Let’s just hope it doesn’t involve donkeys and Egypt.