As Jesus’ mother, Mary plays a crucial part in the Christmas story. It begins with Gabriel’s visit to her: ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’ (Luke 1:30,31). This conversation takes us straight to the heart of what Christmas is all about. God was doing something unique, that had never happened before! ‘God was beginning, at this divine and human point, the New Creation of all things. The whole soiled and weary universe quivered at this direct injection of essential life.’ (CS Lewis).
This child unites heaven and earth: the eternal God entered time and space and became a baby, both a real human being and fully divine. It reminds me of the sci-fi film Fantastic Voyage (1966) in which a team of surgeons are shrunk to the size of blood cells and injected into the veins of a patient to perform lifesaving surgery. The Christmas message affirms that God has entered the bloodstream of humanity to put things right with Him on the inside. We can know Him personally and make sense of His world.
God chose an unknown, frightened teenage girl to bring about this new beginning for the world. Her response is the pattern for us, as we welcome God’s special gift into our lives this Christmas: ‘“I am the Lord’s servant” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”’ (Luke 1:38).
Mary gave an unqualified Yes to all that God wanted to do in her life. It was a costly decision, which risked both shame and scandal. Yet she was ready to obey God and trust His plans for her life, despite her many questions. Is the same true for us this Christmas?