• Mount Tabor UMC

Devotional for December 14

What Christmas Meant to Mary

Luke 1:26-28 (NIV)

It’s easy to spot the mother of king--regal clothing, crown jewels, parades of royal staff, not to mention the accolades of a crowd--but, Mary received none of this. Before the birth, she was turned away from the inn, and after the birth she and her fledgling family were forced into hiding. She had every reason to be afraid, even disappointed perhaps. This was no way for the Savior of the world to enter into His kingdom. As she fled from Bethlehem she must have been thinking, “Was this really what God had promised me?”

Scripture doesn’t reveal much about Mary’s latter years. What we do know is Mary exhibited an unparalleled love of God and an understanding of her role in the redemption of mankind. From the very familiar passages about the annunciation, the Magnificat, and the birth, we see what Christmas really means to Mary.

Obey God--both His written word and His revealed will In Luke 1:38, Mary says, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled. Then the angel left her.” The young Mary was destined to receive this great miracle and this great mission because of her obedience. When she accepted this role, she did not know her tears would one day soak the ground of Calvary and a sword would pierce her soul. She did not know that the calling God had placed upon her life would break her. Obedience, without knowing the full cost, requires great acts of love.

Be filled with praise at His many blessings “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” Luke 1:46-48 (NIV). It is very clear Mary did not choose her destiny. To the Judeans, an unmarried, pregnant female was no cause for celebration. Mary sees herself as the recipient of the favor of God because He has tasked her with giving birth to the Son of the Most High. God takes her humble status and will use it to bless a thousand generations. Praising God, regardless of the situation, requires great acts of love.

Fix your eyes on Christ But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2:19 (NIV). The stable was noisy that night with the labor cries, the animal sounds, and the chatter of visitors--hardly a place for quiet contemplation. As she held her baby near, she savored each moment and let it sink into her heart. Mary was able to block out all the temporal distractions and focus on the infant face of Emmanuel. Fixing your eyes on Christ, removing all worldly interferences, requires great acts of love.

Devotion by Alicia Bowman (con’t) - December 14

Christ is God’s gift to us, and how we show love to others is our gift to God. We can follow the example of love Mary laid out for us. Mary’s story is like looking through a beautiful, stained

glass window with all of its mosaics, colors, and designs. The light penetrating through the glass is love, reflecting onto mankind, shining for all the world to see.

Questions for reflection

  1. What areas of your life is God placing a calling on? How can you show obedience to His will?

  2. Why is praising God during difficult or unknown circumstances so hard?

  3. What kinds of distractions are you experiencing now that might cause you to take your eyes off of Christ? What are some ways or practices that will help you to refocus your attention on Him today?

  4. How can you be a witness of Christ’s love to someone today?

Written by Alicia Bowman