Profiles of the Advent – Mary

Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. – Luke 1:38

The general makeup of our society is one that loves attention. One can watch athletes make all sorts of gestures to draw attention after they make a play. It seems that many people will do anything to get their picture on television for a few seconds. On social media, individuals will communicate anything to get as much attention as they can draw. We live in a very self-centered society.

The Virgin Mary was “espoused to a man whose name was Joseph” (Luke 1:27). She was likely very young, perhaps 12 or 13 years old, as life expectancies were not long, and women typically started procreating as soon as their bodies reached childbearing abilities. One day, out of the blue, she was visited by an angel who identified himself as Gabriel. He told her that she would be carrying the fetus of the promised Messiah, and that she would give birth to him.

Naturally, she was curious how this could happen. Of course, she must have been startled at the appearing of the angel. And, if she had lived today, certainly she may have gotten a big head, after her cousin, Elisabeth, said, “Blessed art thou among women” (Luke 1:42). One might expect a response such as, “Yeah, I know, right?”

But Mary’s response to all this news was very different. After being told that she would give birth to the Son of God, she submitted herself. After being called blessed among all women, her response was to utter praise to God. When she gave birth and the shepherds came to worship the newborn, the scripture says that she “pondered these things in her heart” (Luke 2:19).

Now, let’s be honest, if any person, especially any woman, in all of history would deserve to draw a little attention to herself, it would have been the virgin Mary. But she chose a very different path. Mary’s reaction was humility.

Peter wrote in his epistle, “all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6). As the salt of the earth, we are called to be different, and to be an example of Christ to the world. We are commanded to be clothed in humility, which means that we should be covered with it. We wouldn’t dare think of walking out of our house completely naked, and neither should we even dare think of walking around without humility! And we are to be reminded that our humility on earth in this life will result in great honor later.

Let us follow the example of Mary. Instead of drawing attention to ourselves, let us reflect the attention to the Lord.

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