#HomeForChristmas Mary’s story

Ask most people to tell you the Nativity story and they’ll start with the Angel Gabriel appearing to Mary.

In Luke 1:30, we have Gabriel’s greeting:

30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favour with God!”

Over the centuries that has been a tendency to venerate Mary and put her on a high pedestal, in some traditions even to pray through her and in effect worship her.  I think there are two reasons for this.

First of all, there are the lies we can end up believing about God. If we see God as remote and distant, if we fail to see his love, then we will look for other intermediaries to act on our behalf before him. So, there is the classic illustration that if you want to get a son to do something then get his mum to ask him. The vital point here that the idea is based on a lie. God is not like that and Jesus is not like that. We can go straight to him with our prayers.

Secondly, people have focused on the words “you have found favour with God” and so assumed that it is because of Mary’s goodness that God chooses to favour her. But there’s nothing to suggest that here. Rather, Mary has found grace with God.  It is God’s loving graciousness that chooses to involve Mary in his plan.  Mary receives God’s grace because of the son she will bear. Mary’s response is faith.

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”[1]

And here for me, is the first of our #HomeForChristmas lessons. What does Mary do? She  responds by willingly allowing God into her life, her future, her family, her home.

Letting God into our lives, our families, our homes is disruptive. Make no doubt about it, Mary’s calling was not an easy one. Her son was not going to work in the carpenter’s shop, not provide for her in old age. No, his life was going to be on the road. He would be rejected in his home town, he would stir up opposition from the elders of their society and religion. She would one day stand and watch her son publicly shamed, mocked, brutally abused and killed.

But letting God into your life, your family your home is the only right response to the Gospel. This is how you can know forgiveness and peace with God.

Letting God into your life, your home and your family means being ready to see God at work Just as God works in your life to bring forgiveness, reconciliation, healing, hope through Christ’s death and resurrection, so he will work through you in your community to bring this good news to others.

 

[1] Luke 1:38 (NLT).

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