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The Mary of Christmas
When I was in preschool and elementary, our teachers never failed to have us portray the story of the birth of Jesus every Christmas party, and they will always choose a fair, pretty girl with a white veil and long, light blue dress to play Mary. As a child, I kind of memorized the details--the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary; Mary visited her pregnant cousin Elizabeth; Joseph became the foster father of Jesus; Mary, heavily pregnant on a donkey while Joseph stood beside, looking for a place to deliver the baby and ended up in a stable; Jesus was born!; Jesus was visited by the wise men and shepherds and King Herod's order of killing all baby boys.
It's like an action-packed movie, with a happy ending. That's what I surmised for the longest time, until recently when I reflected on it and pretended I was one of the characters of Flying House and Super Book to witness the events first hand.
Mary was a young girl, probably in her teenage years. She came from a poor family in Nazareth. At that time, she was betrothed to a man named Joseph when the angel Gabriel appeared to her.
In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town of Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
In our time today, Mary and Joseph are considered engaged. They were not living together, until Mary was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. I was thinking that maybe Mary was mocked in public, maybe she was closed to be stoned to death because people in her time thought she's promiscuous. I've heard a lot of teenagers who got pregnant and were disowned by their families--and this is the modern world. What more during Mary's time? Mary should be rejoicing because Isaiah's prophecy hundreds of years ago was fulfilled through her.
Isaiah 7:14 -Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Of all women, she was the virgin that Isaiah was referring to. It should be an honor. It's like winning in a beauty pageant! She should be ecstatic. She could have ran around her town and announced the good news that she will be conceiving the Son the God. But instead of rejoicing, Mary was greatly troubled. Maybe she thought she was unworthy, like, why me? Of all people, why me? No. God, I don't deserve this. And duh, how can I possibly get pregnant? I've never had sex!" She could have told the angel, "Ahhmmm, can you go back some other time? I'll think about it first!"
She was anxious, maybe even confused, but the amazing thing was, Mary still submitted to God. She was obedient. She believed what Gabriel told her and accepted God's plan for her. She said yes on the spot. She had strong faith.
"I am the Lord's servant", Mary answered. May it be to me as you have said."
Even at a young age, she was strong. She endured everything because she trusted God with her whole heart. Whenever I have dysmenorrhea, I don't want to be touched by anyone because it's painful. My body's sensitive even to slightest touch! Then I remember my pregnant patients lying comfortably on beds in an air-conditioned room while they labor. Then imagine Mary laboring and panting on top of a donkey while going through a rocky road (literally) for miles. My menstrual cramps and my patients' labor pains are NOTHING compared to what she experienced.
Then she gave birth in a stable. She and Jesus could have contracted infections--you know, horses' poop everywhere, the saliva, that stinky smell all over. That could have been so uncomfortable. The woman in the news before who delivered in a cab was much, much luckier! And then they had to flee sooner because King Herod's battalion were after the baby. I'm not even sure if Mary has fully recovered already from all the blood loss. And she's a teenager! She's high risk! (Oh, I'm being carried away by my being a nurse) She's a woman of God!
And I just pray that we could all be like her; to say yes to God every moment of our life. Mary wasn't meant to be worshipped (for God is a jealous God and only Him should be exalted and worshipped..and remember what the angel told John the beloved? Revelation 19:10 NLT- Then I fell down at his feet to worship him, but he said, "No, don't worship me. I am a servant of God, just like you and your brothers and sisters who testify about their faith in Jesus. Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus."). She's an ordinary woman, an ordinary person like us, who made her life extraordinary because of her submission to God.