December 9, Luke 1:46-55
By Vicki Brown, Word&Way Associate Editor
Mary must have been excited and thrilled at the prospect of her firstborn's birth. Most soon-to-be moms usually are. But Mary also faced some tremendous obstacles — ridicule, ostracism, outrage — perhaps even from close family members. Yet, Mary rejoiced in God's graciousness, power and love.
How could she praise the Father in spite of public opinion? Was her praise a one-shot affair that simply stemmed from a mother-to-be's brimming emotion? No. Mary sang her faith — in what she had learned from the past and in anticipation of the future. Her example teaches us three ways to face our own difficulties:
• Rejoice in the Savior's birth. Mary rejoiced in part because she recognized Jesus' ultimate purpose — to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants. We celebrate the Savior's birth as a sign of God's great love for us.
• Draw courage from Scripture. Mary knew the stories from Hebrew history. She knew the Savior was to be born. While she may not have fully understood how, she knew the Messiah would bear the "iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53).
In the face of present ostracism and later at the most difficult times — standing at the foot of the Son's cross — she must have drawn faith and courage from David and the prophets, relying on passages such as Habakkuk 3:17-18. Habakkuk saw everything the people needed for survival destroyed. "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior," the prophet declared.
• Ponder the Lord's revelations in your heart. Mary did not let any event in Jesus' life just pass. The Gospels record that she thought about each one, treasuring its memory in her heart and pondering its implications. Church services, hymns and Nativity sets remind us to ponder the implications of Christ's birth at Christmas. But just as Mary did, we must ponder the small and great miracles and the sufferings and joys we experience every day.