Thursday, December 17, 2009

Notes on the Nativity 4


The angel then said “Fear not” – as angels always do – and then told her that she would bring forth a Son. And what was Mary’s reply to the Angel’s astonishing news and the high honor of his salutation? We can read it in Luke 1:38 — “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it unto me according to thy word.”

A handmaid was a bond slave with the lowest possible status – the slave to the other slaves in a household.

Yet regardless of the potential outcome, Mary placed herself at the disposal of God and submitted to His will and care – and well she should in the light of three things.

First, the penalty given in scripture for unfaithfulness during betrothal was death by stoning. Mary had to trust that God would protect her as her pregnancy became evident and it was known that she did not yet live with Joseph as his wife.

She had to have faith as well that the Lord would protect her from being ostracized from the community, which would result in her Son being forever branded illegitimate.

And finally she had to trust that God would help her explain to Joseph what had happened, so that she would not be divorced from the binding betrothal relationship.

Ridicule, contempt, and loneliness were among the trials that Mary would endure for her faithful obedience. From Mary we can learn faith, humility, and trust in the promises of the Lord, even when we are wrongfully judged by others.

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