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What Mary Knew

What Mary Knew

Sometimes I dream about having the same quiet strength and tenacity that Mary possessed. Experiencing an angelic visitation is one thing. But asking said angel, “How can this be since I am a virgin?” causes me to chuckle, honestly. Picture it. In the midst of her otherwise predictable day this innocent, betrothed, starry-eyed young lady becomes the object of a divine messenger.  Gabriel, whose powerful presence overwhelmed Zechariah and Daniel, visits sweet Mary and her initial, greatly troubled reaction, turns into a question followed by an acceptance.

Mary knew an angel sent from Yahweh had singled her out as the “highly favored one”.

Away back before ultrasound had even been imagined, Mary knew that a son was being knit together in the safe and secret place of her womb. She knew this awesome offspring would be King, yes, the long awaited One. Additionally, she apparently had some understanding of who Holy Spirit was and as He overshadowed her reproductive system, life as she knew it would never be the same. Her child, she was told, would be called The Son of God. This account has so many feels that I can barely take these truths in as I write this. Can you imagine how Mary felt as she pondered these declarations over her life?

Mary’s reaction, I believe, was a culmination of a lifetime (albeit, a young life) of leaning in to hear the Word of the LORD, of taking seriously her role as a servant of God, and presumably having expectation of the coming Messiah. This handmaiden of God knew she had been handpicked. And yet, I can only imagine the plethora of emotions she experienced in that moment and along this nine month journey.

But, what does she do first? Mary journeys to her beloved relative, Elizabeth. And there, an intrauterine dance ensues and Mary sings magnificently! As she rejoices that her Son will save not only her, but to all generations that follow, she knows God’s mercy has come to the poor, the lowly, the humble, and, finally, to Israel.

Now here we are 2,000 plus years after these events, yet the glow of this good news remains. We depict her sanitized and serene in scenes displayed in crèches all over the world. But Mary’s ability to birth in a barn indicates her incredible vigor keeping her head through rhythmic contractions. Not once in scripture do I ever read a complaint from this saint. As she bore the Savior, she understood little that He would bear our sins.

Mary lived out the knowledge she’d been given with beauty and dignity. I want that for my life. I want to be filled with the knowledge that I, too, have a role in this adventure called Life. I’ve not been visited by an angel, but I have been filled with Holy Spirit and felt the touch of God on my life in more ways than I can display here. And as I ponder these things, I want to trust the God of the impossible to work in ways that are far beyond what I could begin to imagine. Mary knew she was chosen, but hey, so are you and me! We are called to be heralds of the greatest news ever, to love with selfless abandonment, to bear one another’s burdens and to take up our cross and follow Jesus daily…and all this without complaining. We, too, are the “highly favored” ones as we have moved from the dark, stark prison of sin to the spacious place of His marvelous light and life!

This Christmas season, I want to open my eyes and my mind to the knowledge of God’s goodness upon my life. I want God to birth in me a dream that only He can fulfill because it’s so farfetched! I want that for you, too, and like Mary, I want to say without hesitation,

“Behold, the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to Your word.”

Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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