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The Faith of Mary

December 13, 2010

There are scholars and researchers, and commentators that agree, Mary was only about 12 or 13 when she got pregnant with Jesus. In our society that is simply unheard of. Today, if a girl got pregnant that early, they would argue there are only two options: 1 – to abort the baby, or 2 – to wait until the child was born and give it up for adoption.

Of course Mary didn’t have it easy either. She was only ‘engaged’ to Joseph. They weren’t actually married yet. In that culture it was common for the ‘betrothel’, or ‘engagement’ period to last up to a year. After that the families got together and the marriage was completed. It is also important to remember that during the time, Jewish law decreed that any two people who slept together were legally married. For Mary to walk around pregnant was a huge deal, especially because she hadn’t slept with anyone. She never cheated on Joseph, which is how it would look to many people at the time. Mary knew all these things, and i can only imagine the thoughts that raced through her head when the angel Gabriel said to her, “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

What do you think your reaction would be?

After a quick clarification in which Mary asks, “How can this be, since i do not know a man?” and the angel says, “With God nothing will be impossible,” Mary reacts in the most beautiful way ever possible,

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

Mary knew what people would say! Mary knew how society would react! Mary knew the reaction Joseph would have! Mary knew!

But that didn’t matter. Because Mary also knew that God was more important to her than all of that! Mary may not have known all the things that Jesus was meant to accomplish, she didn’t need to, she had faith that God was at work. In and through her God was at work.

Are you struggling in your faith? Have you become dis-illusioned with the church? May you find strength this Christmas season as you remember the reason for Christmas. May you find strength and encouragement in the example of Mary. And may you find strength in the giver of life.

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