The Mary in Us

For the longest time, my favorite Christmas song has been “Away in a Manger.” It describes for me the humble and unpretentious arrival of Jesus.

Reading the story of Jesus’ birth in the book of Luke, we see nothing but simplicity. It happened in a rural area and was anonymous—so different from the birth of an earthly king that is usually awaited with pomp and pageantry by the citizenry.

But what accompanied Jesus’ birth was the attention of the heavenly host (God’s army). Luke 2:13-14, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’”

The event was too important to be announced by just one angel. All heaven was moved, sang praises—and marveled at the grace of the Father Who sent Him.

Mary, young as she was, must have been overwhelmed. The good book tells us that she pondered all that happened in her heart.  For who could understand the contrast between the birth's commonness and the Child's greatness?

How did she feel? The magnitude of Jesus’ birth could not be known by the human mind, least of all Mary who was in her early teens.

These questions inspired our women’s group in church to attend one Christmas gathering dressed as Mary. In the course of our event, we tried to ponder the coming of Jesus.
Today we have the Scripture, which reveals all, to help us understand.  The Holy Birth is no longer as incomprehensible as it was for Mary at the time it happened.

But, like Mary, we wanted to continue pondering those things in our heart. Because no matter how much we know, it is still incredible how the King of all creation would do such an unthinkable humbling to save a wretch like me or you. 

One other poignant Christmas song that I also love (by Mark Lowry), in the same rung as “Away in a Manger,” ends with “Mary did you know? The sleeping Child you’re holding is the great I am.”

What a privilege to worship our Deliverer at His birth!    

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