Tuesday, December 10, 2013
MARY, THE EXAMPLE OF A GODLY WOMAN
It seems that this particular Christmas has been a difficult one for many women. The days to accomplish everything on their lists have been cut short by a very late Thanksgiving celebration and the frustration levels are higher than ever. “So much to do; so little time to do it.” The list is endless and the time is fleeting. “Doing” Christmas has become a burdensome chore.
I watched part of a silly movie where the women of one town went on strike against their families for not helping with the lists of things to do and get done before Christmas. In the end the leader of this uprising realized that Christmas was not about perfection in doing, it was about enjoying family and friends. (That is not a Christian theme, but a good thing to realize.)
There have been many Blogs written this year about this whole concept of “doing” Christmas instead of enjoying Christmas; about changing our focus from the lists of things to accomplish to a focus on the Christ of Christmas and the realities that exist in our lives because He came into this world. After all, keeping Christ in Christmas is more than spelling it right. There is much to say about that, but I will, instead, turn to Mary:
Have you ever read Proverbs 31 and felt like a failure? As a barren woman, I can say yes to that. I avoid that chapter as much as I can. It seems to say that a woman’s place in the family of God is as a wife and mother, nurturer and provider for a family. One brave Pastor stood up against that idea last spring and that was welcome; but the truth is that barren women or old maids have been looked at as failures as “Godly” women for centuries.
But let’s take a look at Mary: When she was given the news of what God’s will was for her life, she finished the conversation with this proclamation: “May it be to me as you have said.” And, thus begins the true definition of a Godly woman. One who believes that God will carry out every promise He makes; one who surrenders herself to His will knowing in her heart that His will is what will bring her joy and will bring Him glory. He will not fail her; He will not fail Himself.
How exciting is that? The Godly woman need only submit herself to God. Her godliness is not dependent on her accomplishments, not on her works. Her godliness is dependent only on His Grace, the same as her salvation. If she is submitted to God her works will be to His Glory, whatever those works are.
Then Mary packed up her things and took off to visit Elizabeth. The angel had mentioned Elizabeth and her child, and Elizabeth was the wife of a priest and a relative of Mary, so maybe Mary knew that she could trust Elizabeth with this shocking news and that she might be comforted and nurtured at Elizabeth’s side.
When she arrived, and walked into the house an astonishing thing happened: the baby in Elizabeth’s womb “leaped for joy.” The Holy Spirit in John, recognized Jesus in Mary and leaped for joy. And as He did He filled Elizabeth with the joyful knowledge of what had happened with Mary and the presence of the Savior within Mary. She then exclaimed:
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
But remember here, that Mary has not said a word yet about what has happened to her or what she was told. The Holy Spirit has enlightened Elizabeth to the facts and she is proclaiming her understanding of them.
Then she says, “But, why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? And she explains to Mary about John jumping for Joy in her womb and about the Holy Spirit enlightening her about Jesus being in the room. Her next words are all about the Godly woman:
“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
But, we might say, what has the Lord said to us? What has the Lord said will be accomplished in us? Has He even spoken to us?
Yes. God has spoken to us. He does so when we read his Word, or listen to sermons from His Word, or study books or subjects from His Word. He speaks to us from His Word through our minds and, if we are listening, He will definitely have something to say to us. But we must “be still and know that (He) is God.”
So I am thinking that at this time of year we need to slow down, not speed up. We need to be Godly women who are rejoicing in the pure Joy of the first coming of Christ and are also celebrating the next coming of Christ. We need to let ourselves be imperfect in accomplishing our “lists” and maybe even destroy those lists so that we can bask in the light shone by Mary as she accepted God’s will for her life. It was a beautiful thing, and it is an example of pure delight in the coming of Jesus Christ our Lord.
May we be blessed in the knowledge that all God wants from us is our total trust and our willingness to rejoice in Him, always, no matter what He brings our way. And may we lean on Him for guidance and comfort as we live out or lives on this earth. Merry Christmas to you all! (And to all a good night!) J