During this season of the year, it never quite feels spectacular or Christmassy until I take pause and read the written account of Christ’s birth in Luke. This year, however, I’m doing something a little different and reading it in increments.
I just sat to read the amazing praise song that Mary proclaims when greeted by her probably-post-menopausal, barren, yet somehow pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, whose unborn prophet-son leaped in utero at the voice of her cousin, the pregnant-virgin teenager!
First of all, how awesome is that?! Here we have Elizabeth, old, barren, pregnant with who would someday be famously known as “John the Baptist” and Mary, young, virgin, unmarried, humbly, gratefully accepting her role as mother of God, knowing the shame that she was also welcoming by accepting a swelling, pregnant belly as an unwed teen. And the prophetic proclamations exchanged by these 2 unlikely mothers, carrying incredible men in their tummies (One more incredible than anyone ever!).
And Elizabeth, not yet told, but knowing simply by the jubilant leaping of her unborn child, that the mother carrying King of kings had entered her home.
And Mary, her incredible response. She seems to know something that so many of her generation failed to believe or recognize. You see, so many of the religious folks of Mary’s day had believed in the Messiah, yet they believed in a Messiah that would save them from their oppressive suffering, from the rule of the Roman Empire and reign as an earthly king. They wanted a king that suited their desires.
But Mary got it. Perhaps that’s why she was chosen. “He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave… And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones. And has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed.” (Luke 1:48 & 50-53). Mary knew that this Christ-child was coming to live among the lowly. He was coming to bring comfort to the afflicted, to give mercy to the brokenhearted. And His kingdom wasn’t an earthly kingdom, it’s far, far too great for that!
This chosen human form that God manifested Himself in was a lowly baby, born in a feeding trough for livestock, worshiped first by shepherds, birthed of an unwed teenager, homeless, carpenter… and He came to be brutally, shamefully murdered as a result of His purity of character that offended those too self-righteous to want to face their own soul-poverty.
So often folks don’t come to Christ because they believe themselves too broken, too messed-up, too lowly to be loved by the Most High. And so often folks don’t come to Christ because they believe themselves too good for Him. Both parties are sorely mistaken.
Don’t feel unworthy of God’s love towards you. And don’t turn away from this Love, as though you don’t desperately need it.
This generation, like Mary’s, is ignorant in it’s own way. Many miss the glory of Jesus, because they want God in some other form. But this, this glory-baby, this precious Son given, this is God’s chosen form. He gave the world Jesus. He gave us this sacrifice. Don’t turn away. Look full in His wonderful face. See a lowly baby born to save the world!… and to reign as Most High forever in a pure and perfect Kingdom, unimaginably better than we can fathom. The earth is only His footstool. And it’s only temporary. But this lowly King… This glory-child… He is eternal and magnificent, perfect, beyond anything we can comprehend!
“For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord,
and ourselves as bondservants for Jesus’ sake.
For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’
is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of God in the face of Christ.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.”
2 Corinthians 4:5-7