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. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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. ♡

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

  8. 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)