Think of what lay ahead of her: to be young and pregnant while yet unmarried in a culture where such a state bore a horrible reproach–and how would she explain that hers was a virgin pregnancy? How many people would believe that? What would the neighbors be saying? And what about Joseph? As it soon turned out, her espoused husband was embarrassed, chagrined, wanted to “divorce” her in some unobtrusive way.
Once Christ was born, she at least stood vindicated in the eyes of a small group of people to whom the angels or the Holy Spirit had revealed Him to be the long-prophesied Messiah and Son of God, the fulfillment of “a virgin shall conceive..” Yet forty days later when she and Joseph brought the baby to the temple to be presented, Simeon, one of those to whom God revealed Jesus’ identity, told her He would be spoken against, and “a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luk 2:34-35, ESV).
In His adulthood, her Son became “a man of sorrows,” as Isaiah had prophesied. How would it feel to watch your good-and-upright son who never did a wrong in His life, lead a life of sorrow and be spoken against? Would you be merry?
No, I don’t think Mary was merry. Not very often. Not even on the day she learned she would bring forth the Savior. But she was clearly joyous–and that’s a whole different thing.
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,” she says in Luke 1:46-47 (ESV). She then goes on to rejoice in all God has done for her and all He is going to do for His people. She exults that He has lifted her up from her lowly estate to a blessed and widely desired role only one woman in all Israel’s history would receive (mother of the Messiah). She sees the fulfilling of magnificent prophecies in her time and foresees the fulfillment of many more in time to come. Maybe not merry, but definitely joyful.
How about you this Christmas? Is it going to be a merry one? For many it will not. Nearly everyday I hear of another family that has just lost a loved one, or of someone who has experienced a dreadful accident, or is frighteningly ill. Such circumstances aren’t likely to engender mirth, but in Christ, we can still experience deep joy–and that is what I pray for you, for everyone reading this blog:
No matter what your circumstances this Christmastime, may God bless you with deep joy in Him! A wondrous, joyous Christmas!