A Mary Little Christmas
[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Carla Gasser, past Diva Christmas series guest blogger, and the latest installment of the A Very Diva Christmas guest blogger series! All of these devotionals are inspired by the Christmas story — here’s Carla’s take on how to “Have Yourself a Mary Little Christmas…”]
A few years ago I wrote an Advent devotional entitled “Have Yourself a Mary Little Christmas.” I was convicted regarding my role in making Christmas “merry” for my family and wanted to go back to the first Christmas and see where maybe I was getting things wrong. ” I took a look at the very first Christmas and the wife and mother who was at the center of it…Mary. By her quiet and humble example, she taught me so much about how to prepare for the Christmas season.
Let me say a few things about Mary before we begin. She was a woman of faith, courage, humility, praise, and prayer. She was a wife, a mother, and a disciple of Christ.
She was just a young teenager in an unimportant town in the hills of Galilee. She came from a poor but honorable family. She was engaged but not yet married to a man named Joseph. She was in love but a virgin. She knew the Scriptures and believed in God. She was waiting for the promised Messiah just like all the Jewish people, but for 400 years God had been silent on the subject.
The Scriptures call her “highly favored” and “blessed”… and indeed she was!
However, it is important to note that she was favored not because of who she was or what she possessed but because God chose her. Mary was totally perplexed, stunned, and confused by the angel’s announcement. She did not ask or seek this role in God’s plans. God simply stepped into her life and brought her into His service…just like He can and does with all of us. Her asset was her faithfulness and willingness to do whatever God asked.
She was confused, afraid, alone, tired, overwhelmed, and need of a Savior
(I don’t know about you…but I can relate on many levels), but she also did 3 important things that were crucial to getting her heart, mind, and soul ready to embrace the greatest gift the world has ever known.
1) She PREPARED
In Luke 1: 38 Mary responds to the angel’s announcement:
“I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled…”
Mary was willing to set aside her plans for God’s plans. God asked Mary to change her hopes, her plans and her dreams…and not without a cost to her.
Are we willing to the same? Can we set aside of hopes, dreams and expectations of what Christmas should be? Are we willing to allow God to break into our lives and do the impossible as he did for Mary?
2) She PRAISED
Continuing on in the story in Luke’s gospel, Mary greets her cousin, Elizabeth, and breaks into a song of praise and thanksgiving:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful or the humble estate of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me–holy is his name. ” Luke 1:46-49
Mary realized that Christmas was not about her but all about Him. She chose to take the focus off of herself and put it where it belonged…on the birth of Jesus. She accepted her role in God’s plan with humility and gratitude.
Are we willing to focus on what really matters this Christmas? Can we pare things down to the simple gift of Jesus and let go of the things that distract us (even if they are good things)?
3) She PONDERED
As Mary gives birth to Jesus in a lowly stable with only Joseph to help her, the shepherds arrive after seeing angles in the night sky. Mary is quiet and reflective.
Luke 2:19 reads: “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.“
Mary took the time to be quiet and still. Jesus came as the angel foretold and as God had promised. Mary got of the way, allowed God to use her, and made room for her Lord and Savior, Jesus. She was reflective and thoughtful as she pondered this amazing thing that God had done for her and all of mankind.
Are we willing to be still and ponder? Do we realize that the only gift we really need this Christmas is the gift of Jesus? Have we accepted that gift by inviting Christ into our ordinary, messy, everyday lives?
So let’s learn from Mary and prepare, praise and ponder as we try to “Have Ourselves as Mary Little Christmas” this year.
Please visit my website and subscribe to receive your FREE E-BOOK Advent Devotional, “Have Yourself A Mary Little Christmas” which includes weekly Bible reading, questions, activities, and a list of resources to help you prepare your heart, mind, and soul for Christmas.
Grace, peace and joy to each of you.
When not teaching, writing, or speaking, Carla is most herself as a wife and mom living in Hudson, Ohio with her four very active children (who take their job of keeping her humble and grounded very seriously!) and her husband of over 26 years. She believes in the power of story and writes and speaks about the messy, ordinary, and unexpected ways her life and her faith intersect. Her purpose is to help others seek God at the place of connection, serve their families and others on the path and connection, and support each as they strive to become people of connection. She is a work in progress, seeking fellow travelers on the journey. Everyone who subscribes to her blog via email will receive her free e-book on CONNECTION, so visit AT THE CROSSROADS: www.carlagasser.com to learn more about and connect with Carla Gasser today!