Mary of Nazareth

Open Your Bible

Luke 1:26-38, Luke 2:1-7, John 2:1-12, John 19:25-27

When I was young, my church put on a Christmas pageant every year. At age 8, I was given the extreme honor of performing a solo for that year’s pageant. My shining moment came as Mary and Joseph were traveling to Bethlehem, looking for somewhere safe to stay so Mary could give birth to Jesus. As Mary and Joseph came upon the inn my character was “working” at, I burst into song, repeating over and over, “No room. No room.”

That’s it. “No room.” My twenty seconds of fame. (Twenty might be generous.)

This follows the story I learned about Mary growing up: She is visited by an angel and told she will give birth to Jesus. She is afraid Joseph, her fiancé, will leave her, but he is visited by an angel too! They travel on a donkey to Bethlehem for a census, and while they are there, the time comes for Mary to give birth. But there isn’t anywhere for them to stay! (Time for my solo—“No room. No room.”) And so when Jesus is born, He is laid in a manger, a food trough for animals. He grows up, and that’s when the story really begins.

For the most part, this was all I’d really learned about Mary. But one of the best parts of Mary’s story actually comes at the very beginning, when she is first visited by the angel. When the angel tells her she will be the mother of Jesus, God’s own Son, she is quick to question, ”How can this be, since I have not had sexual relations with a man?” (Luke 1:34). Mary was likely confused and concerned, given her engagement to Joseph, as any young woman would be upon receiving such news. But the angel counters her confusion and fear with a reminder of the power of the Lord her God. He tells Mary that the child she is carrying will be called the Son of God. And then he reminds her of her cousin Elizabeth, and the son she is now carrying after years of infertility. Nothing is impossible with God.

Mary’s response to the angel is simple and powerful: “I am the Lord’s servant… May it happen to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38). Before Jesus was even born, His mother was committed to being a servant of the Lord. Even though her life was being turned upside down, her own plans disrupted, and she was unsure of the future she thought she would have with Joseph, one thing remained true: she was a servant of the Lord. And because she trusted in the Lord, she knew that His plans for her life were better than the ones she had herself.

In moments of uncertainty, when we’re told that something will likely turn our life upside down, we may try to cope with it by hanging on to whatever sense of control we think we have at that time. We try to keep a tight, white-knuckled grip on what we think we know to be best for us; those are easy reactions that offer a false sense of security. But Mary does the exact opposite—she lets go. And with open hands she gives herself to God’s plan.

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71 thoughts on "Mary of Nazareth"

  1. Kelsey Maureen says:

    I have been having a rough time with the changes in my life. I was reminded today of Mary and how her entire life was flipped upside down. It shows me that God’s plan is WAY better than my plan. “May It Be Done To Me According To Your Will”

  2. Ja'Mecia Laws says:

    Let it be as your word God.

  3. Trisha Bilbrey says:

    The last paragraph speaks clearly to me. Sometimes I hang on so tight to things that if I let go, God always finds his way in to lead me in the right direction. Having courage to trust in him because he knows best, can be challenging.

  4. Hailee Madison says:

    If only these days it was as easy as a visit from an Angel lol. Now I pray to learn how to hear God’s voice.

  5. Sheri Sullivan says:

    Learning to let go of what I think I can control and allowing God to control. ❤️

  6. Bella Iris says:

    I really want to have Mary’s attitude towards God. I want to let go and begin to depend on God’s plan. This reflection is so appropriate for me at this moment because I’m trying to find the path I will follow in my life from now on. I’m sure God holds my hand in the midst of uncertainty and all I have to do is surrender to His will.

    So I make this statement mine today: “May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

    I loved reading this today! And it’s nice to be part of a group of women who want to know and obey God more and more each day.

  7. Janet Roberts says:

    Lord , I pray that each day you give me a heart that desires more of you and that use me to serve others .

  8. Autumn LRouse-Williams says:

    Jesus help me trust you with all of my existence and stand strong on your promise .

  9. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I want to trust like Mary did. Especially when life is upside down and crazy. I know that I too often try to hang on to some kind of amount of control when things in my life are crazy. I pray that I could let that control go and trust that you have great plans. I want Jesus to be constant in hard times.

  10. Gaby Dal sasso says:


  11. Brandi Smith says:


  12. Caroline says:

    On the difference between Zechariah and Mary’s responses, the language is slightly different — Z asks how he can KNOW this, whereas Mary asks how it can BE. Mary’s question already assumes that it is so (ie she knows it to be true, but just curious how it could happen), while Z’s phrasing (“I need proof!”) shows doubt.

    Also – HOW LOVELY is the story re Cana… Mary was not only there, but she prompted his first sign! “Do whatever he tells you.” She still believes and is still expecting. She paves the way for her son, in her own special way.

  13. Jessica McIlhenny says:

    Abba please help me to follow your path and to trust you completely. You are always with me and for me. You are my all in all. Thank you Abba.

  14. Deborah Collazo says:

    Help me give myself to Your plans, LORD God. Counter my confusion and fear with the reminder of Your unlimited and great power. Nothing is impossible for you and You never leave me or abandone me. ❤️

  15. Taira Delgado says:

    God, you are ultimately in control of all things— from beginning to the end. Lord, may I have the courage and faith that Mary once had to serve you wholeheartedly. May I find such favor in your eyes.

  16. Tracy W says:

    A perfect and timely reminder that I am not in control and more importantly, I don’t need to be in control.

    1. Taira Delgado says:

      Yes amen!

  17. Mckayla Reese says:

    Lord I pray that you would always make known to me what is your will. Sometimes I have trouble recognizing what’s from the Lord and what isn’t.

    1. Taira Delgado says:

      You are not alone! I too truly sometimes with discerning the Lords voice!

  18. Alexcia M.Lewis says:

    There are so many reasons (some born from anxiety and some that are actual facts) as to why I can’t do something or believe God to manifest His promises to me. This deviation has given me a lot to think about.

  19. Christine Salinas says:

    Things feel a bit impossible right now. What a reminder that what I think is best and what the Lord thinks as best can (and often will be) different. What a beautiful reminder of trusting even when I don’t see what is going on. Mary trusted a lot!! Praise God for His faithfulness.

  20. Jessica Nicolas says:

    Lord, let me have the same bravery Mary had to let go and accept your will in my life whenever I confront something that will turn my world upside down. Amen. ♡

  21. Lehua K. says:

    I’m a little behind on the reading and thought I had read this the other day, but I really needed to reread this today. I am inspired by Mary’s example, even in the midst of her world turning upside down, where she surrenders herself to God’s plan. Where she follows in obedience.

    God, please forgive me of my recent work situation, where I doubted and got upset at the possible changes. I know You allow things to happen for a reason, and I willingly surrender control and the sense of control over to You. Your will, not mine, be done. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  22. Eryn Murray says:

    I love how this shows we can’t control what God will to and to fully submit even when it looks impossible. Amen!

  23. Jamie says:

    Why? the term is white-knuckled because one is holding on so tight, the knuckles lose color due to lack of blood flow. This happens to anyone who squeezes their hands into a fist tight.

  24. Debbie says:

    To Casey and Caitlyn, I have thought about the difference with Zechariah as well. Gabriel tells him that he will be silent “because you did not believe my words” (Luke 1:20) I think this shows that the heart behind the words was known. Mary’s question didn’t come out of disbelief but Zechariah’s did. He certainly came to believe though and praised the Lord. (Luke 1:67-79)

  25. Cynthia Ramain says:

    Stacey, I love that you received so much from this reading! It is powerful no doubt! But I ask, with God’s blessing, that you don’t criticize the beautiful reading from today. ‘White knuckled’ is a simple terminology used to describe someone trying very hard to hold on to something very tight. That is all it means. We all love one another here, and through Jesus, we will come to understand God’s plan for us. Please don’t discount this amazing message by reading between the lines and looking for something that is not there. I believe this amazing platform is for all of us to understand God in a better, more meaningful way. These amazing soldiers of God are writing from their heart to help us better understand God’s word. I hope this rings true with you as well! God bless and my love goes out to you and all my SRT sisters❤️

  26. Allison Whitlock says:

    I appreciate how Mary didn’t understand how it was possible to be pregnant and asked the angel, Gabriel. She modeled humility and discernment to me. Then Gabriel answers in sharing Elizabeth’s own pregnancy miracle. Mary was moved by this and stood strongly in confidence of God. In the past I judged Mary for asking, thinking it was caused by a lack of faith. But as His living word does it moved me today, humbled me and now I see the importance for her in asking this question. Mary had a heart for God and her response shows that.

  27. Beth Ann McCormick says:

    “Nothing will be impossible with God.” I have some prayers that feel impossible at times. But I have to trust that God’s plan is so much bigger and better than my feeble ideas. Please join me in praying that my boyfriend comes to know Christ, and that he learns more about Him through the He study.

  28. Casey Hicks says:

    The podcast suggested pondering. When Zechariah in yesterday’s study, asks “but how can it be” he is struck mute. For a while it seemed. How come when Mary says “but how can it be, I haven’t had sexual relations” does Gabriel explain to her how? Don’t change my faith…. just wondering at Gods plan.

    1. Caitlyn Brown says:

      I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this myself, even going as far as to contrast it with Abraham’s reaction to being told similar news, and God’s reassurance to him. Like you, it doesn’t change the faith, but I feel like there is something here for us to unpack. Here’s to the journey!

    2. Katelin LaGreca says:

      I wonder if it was the heart behind the question. It seems to be Zechariah asked in almost disbelief whereas Mary was literally asking how can this happen. Just my thought.

    3. Alexcia M.Lewis says:

      I’ve wondered the same thing for years now.

    4. Brandy Larkin says:

      To me the difference is more practical. Up to that point babies had been conceived only one way. Mary was betrothed to Joseph and it would have been considered more of a physical question of “how will this work”as opposed to “I don’t believe it can be done” as in Zechariah’s situation. He almost made a joke of it being offensive to an extent. She was young and certainly had not had the knowledge that Zechariah would have had. Just my humble opinion though.

  29. AnnaFaith Adair says:

    Mary is such a beautiful example of being a willing vessel. Something in today’s reading that blessed me was the turning water into wine. At the first moment of trouble, Mary turned to Jesus. My prayer is that I can do the same

  30. Stacey says:

    Love this profound reminder that we must be brave in our faith and answer the Lord accordingly. May His will be done!

    * side note to the editor: possibly change your text from “white-knuckled” to just “knuckled?

    1. Courtney Matlock says:

      Clench your fist together tightly – look at what color your knuckles are. That is what the term is referring to. ❤️

  31. Nicole Green says:

    His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than ours. Isaiah 55:9. That’s why we should trust Him alone. Thank God for this devotional today.

  32. LaShawn Alder says:

    Every controlling moment I have to recite this “Lord have your way”

  33. Nhu Pham says:

    What a great and bold example of faith Mary has demonstrated for us. I could not imagine being a teenage girl, having an angel appearing and assigning such daunting and mighty task, and she simply said yes. This reminds me of the military concept, simply “Sir yes Sir”. It shows so much character about this young innocent, yet bold, warrior-like Mary that puts herself last and God’s plan first. She knows who the commander is, and who the soldier is to take orders and to obey. This shows the deep love and reverence she has for God all the way, no objection. I am so thankful for these great examples of strong faith pointing us to be outright simple in our obedience, to be simple-minded with God, and leave the details to Him. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come (1 Corinthians 10:11). Let this be written for the generation to come, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD (Psalm 102:18). Let us love God, obey God today and everyday!

  34. DOROTHY says:

    Amen, Churchmouse, Samantha Dominguez, Angie, Chipo Samantha Chironga, amen.
    Lindsey Ellingwood, your words spoke to me.
    NanaK, you are so right.
    Kristal, I too am a nurse but I’m working private duty. I am and will continue to pray for you and all the nurses out there “on the front lines.” I too am thankful to have a job. God bless you for going to work everyday that you do. I do remember working in the hospital and how hard it was without a pandemic, so to have the pandemic on top of it I can’t imagine how hard and tired you must be. God be with you.
    Taylor and Mary K., love the equation and plan on putting it where I can see it daily and share it. Hope that’s okay.

  35. Laurel BaciulisBačiulytėSmith says:

    Lord, May Your will be done. Remind me I am to do Your will, not mine.

  36. DOROTHY says:

    Oh wow. Ellen Taylor is speaking to me today in the last paragraph of this devotion. I am finishing packing and will start moving some boxes tomorrow but the big stuff and the main things will be Saturday. I will be started a new season of my life and so ill my sister and nephew. This month has been hard on the three of us. I don’t know what God has planned for our future but I will wait with open arms and an open heart. I will try to let God and Christ be my guide in this uncertain, next season of my life and pray that my sister and nephew will allow God to guide them. Lord, help us through these next few days, weeks and months of uncertainty as Carol (my sister), Jake (my nephew) and I try to do Your will. Remind us that Your plan is what is best for us even if we think otherwise. Amen.

  37. Chipo Samantha Chironga says:

    God let your will be done

  38. Sarah D. says:

    Love this…prayer request here. I go to Liberty University, and I emailed our Office of Spiritual Development a letter on my disappointment that they were silent on speaking out against racism, while I was seeing other colleges speak out, both Christian and public. So they responded to me, and tomorrow I will be videoing with the lead pastor and other people on their team! Kinda nervous and I don’t feel qualified to talk about it because I’m still listening and learning from black leaders about this issue, but hopefully my friend(who will be joining me too) and I can share our hearts, as well as other students hearts too. Praying that our school would be known for Christ alone, and for reflecting his character in all areas of life.

    1. Traci Gendron says:

      Good for you on standing up! I’m meeting with a friend and his wife today. I’m asking them for help on what I can do as a white woman. I feel that the racial issue goes very deep and complex. We all need to join in to change this. And God needs yo be at the enter of that change.

    2. May D says:

      Sarah! I’m so proud of you. You’ve inspired me to speak up also. I live in a very white rural community and am saddened by all the silence. Be the light!

  39. Melissa Graves says:

    Today’s reading speaks to my heart so deeply. The Lord has been showing me my need to let go and give my burdens to Him…from my child who has strayed from wholeheartedly following Jesus, our failure at a recent effort to improve our living situation, to covid and societal upheaval, they are burdens and concerns to heavy for me to bear. Jesus, I am giving them all to You and am trusting You to faithfully handle each one.

  40. Elisha Anne says:

    “May it be done according to your word.” He’s always looking for faith. He split the seas. Certainly He can help me love my enemies.

  41. Traci Gendron says:

    Good morning ladies! I pray that I can be so faithful as to follow God’s plans for me. I’m asking for prayer for my son Tanner. He’s faith has waned and he has a rare illness. He seems angry and has given up hope. Thank you ❤️

  42. Angie says:

    Decisions often fill me with turmoil. When I have a big choice to make, it weighs heavily upon me. I want to make the right choice.

    Retire? Don’t retire?
    Buy a new car? Try to get the one I’ve got to last a little longer?
    Stay where we are living and spend money to put a bedroom on the first floor? Down-size – if so, where?
    All those decisions interrelate to one another as well. One effects the other.
    I can lose my joy, and become overwhelmed, with the weight. But should I?

    Mary was going about her regular day when the angel appeared. She had one answer for the decision placed in front of her; she was the Lord’s servant. She was living as a servant of the Lord before and would continue on, in faithful trust…not in herself, but in God.

    My decisions each day are not of the same magnitude Mary’s were. And yet, in little or great, my simple answer must be, “I am the Lord’s servant.” I may not have the direction of an angel saying,…this is what will happen, but… God has been faithful-always.
    Upon my altar-of-remembrance; stone upon stone has been placed by God’s good guidance. I can and will trust the Solid Rock. The foundation is Jesus Christ. As my hands are open and empty before Him, I trust He will guide me. It doesn’t mean that it will always be easy (things were not easy for Mary), but…easy or hard, His will is really the only place I want to be.

    Every day Lord I pray for eyes that see, ears that hear, feet that go, and hands that empty, hold, or do; all led by a heart that is fully Yours.

  43. Samantha Dominguez says:

    Such a simple response to an extraordinary calling. To have a faith and trust as Mary did is my prayer this morning. To just answer “I am Your servant” when I am called by God… even if the task at hand goes beyond comprehension or beyond what I see for myself.

  44. Meredith Ashley says:

    Kristal – thank you for your example of trust and obedience. We honor you for your service during this critical hour. May God bless you and keep you, and may your cup overflow. Prayers for provision during this transition, and continued peace and trust! Blessings!

  45. Maura says:

    Kristal, your words thank you for choosing to become a nurse, what a gift you give daily in your work. Praying you see God’s abundant provision despite this reduction in salary. He is faithful and He will be with you. And, yes, you are right, He has great things for you Kristal, in my life when I have had the greatest need financially is when God has shown me He is the resource of all and I am so thankful for all He provided and continues to. Mary’s faith is beautiful and so selfless. I hope to be as selfless in my faith that with an open heart, not looking at all that might happen I might say yes to all that He asks with complete trust. Hugs Sisters. Thank you for your prayers I am with my daughter and beautiful grands and really being blessed. Joy to your days. Our Lord is so very Good!

  46. Angela Smith says:

    It is trusting and following God even when what he is asking us to do something that is not within our plans and to do it when he wants us to do it.

  47. Taylor says:

    Lord I want to say “Yes” to your calling for me today. I don’t know what that will look like yet, but when it comes I pray to have eyes to see it, and to let go and be your servant. Even when things don’t go as I plan or expect, and even when I am afraid, I pray I would trust you and be obedient to follow Your call.

    I have honestly heard the phrase to “live open-handed” like 20 times in the last month. From church, friends, books, SRT, it just keeps coming. Lord, I hear you. I want to live open-handed to your will and Your plans for my life, not my own.

    I shared an “equation” in the Trust study that also seems relevant here: trust + surrender (of being lord of our own lives) + love for God and others (thank you Mary K!) = obedience. Praying we can all live as faithful servants of the Lord today!

  48. Mari V says:

    This reminds me of the old familiar phrase: Let go.
    And let God. Hard as it may appear. It’s still the best place to be. And I don’t want to be anywhere else.

    1. Sara R says:

      One of my favorite sayings/slogans. Amen.

  49. Ammi Pintos says:

    What trust and how
    Brave was Mary. Nothing is imposible to God.

  50. Kristal says:

    ‘And because she trusted in the Lord, she knew that His plans for her life were better than the ones she had herself.’ Oh, how I needed to hear these words today!

    In the midst of a global pandemic, my job as a Registered Nurse is difficult. I am asked to put myself in harms way, yet the hospital I have worked at for over 7 years is being bought out, and I will be taking a massive pay cut next

    Don’t get me wrong, when there are so many people without jobs now, I am very thankful to be working. However, a pay cut at this time in the world is hurtful to me as a nurse. I worry about how I will put food on the table as it is. But God is so much more powerful than anything, even a global pandemic! I know He will provide for me and my family.

    I know He has great things in store for me. I just have to trust Him always, just as Mary did when she was carrying Him.
    Blessings ❤️

    1. Cynthia Montesinos says:

      Lifted you up in prayer.

  51. NanaK says:

    Extraordinary things can happen to ordinary people when we believe and put our trust in the LORD, “for nothing will be impossible with GOD.”

  52. Lindsey Ellingwood says:

    38. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

    This is how I want to respond to the life that God has called me to. Let it be according to Gods Word, May I walk within His will and favor – although messengers/people will depart and circumstances seem impossible I know and fully trust that Christ is always with me – the power of Christ in me is mightier than the world.

    Mary experienced that favor, power, and grace. Our experience is different but also so much the same. Nothing is impossible with God! ❤️

  53. Churchmouse says:

    Jesus does not have Mary’s DNA. His DNA is other worldly, supernatural, of the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t have Joseph’s DNA either. Jesus is raised by two people who have no blood bond to Him. Mary and Joseph’s faith and obedience and trust is their bond to Jesus. Mary and Joseph were not divine, not other worldly, not supernatural. They were common people of their day who said “Yes” when they heard the voice of God. We are called to do the same, to say “Yes” when we hear God’s voice. We are called to faith, obedience and trust. We are to be the Lord’s servants.

    1. Patty O says:

      Phil 2:5-11 explains that,”Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him, and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
      Mary’s DNA was not necessary for God to take on human form and likeness. I agree with Churchmouse that Jesus’ DNA was supernatural, of the father.

  54. Tiffany Lashmet says:

    I have probably read the account of Mary and Gabriel 100 times, but never caught “For no word from God will everyone fail.” It made me think back to the Pronises of God study and remember that those promises will never fail!

    1. Hilary Holmes says:

      Could you give the verse you are talking about? No word from God will ever fail.

      1. Stacey Cochran says:

        It’s Luke 1:37 in the NIV translation.

      2. Kathryn Green says:

        Luke 1:37

  55. Kristen says:

    Erin’s description is something I do. I try to hold on. What an example of the right response as Mary let’s go and gives in to God’s plan. I think about how the Scripture says that she pondered things she was told in her heart. What she endured watching her son being mocked. suffering, bleeding, and dying. These two podcasts talk about Jesus and his first miracle:

    This next one talks refers to the Scriptures in John where of Jesus turns the water into wine and cleanses the temple. In the description this was written; Jesus’ first miracle was not just a miracle, but a miraculous sign. It was an acted-out picture of who Jesus is and everything Christianity is. His inaugural event was not walking on water or raising somebody from the dead. Instead, what you have here is not a very big deal. A party looks like it’s going to go two days instead of three days. Wow. What a shame.
    Why did Jesus do this miracle? Why was this the first one? How does this reveal his glory? If you ask that question, there’s so much in it. You have the whole nine yards here: who he came to be, what he came to do, what he has to offer, and how we can receive it. Here is the link:

    Hope you can listen. There are things I never knew or thought of in these sermons.

  56. MARTHA HIX says: