Mary, the mother of Jesus, was from Nazareth. No prophet had ever come out of Nazareth. In John’s Gospel, the people wondered if anything good could come from that town. When you look at the wounds and brokenness in your own life, do you sometimes wonder if anything good can come from you? As we draw closer to Christmas, let’s focus on what it means to give birth to Christ in our own life. Mary said yes to God. Will we? Please read more.
This is part three of a three-part Advent series. First, we looked back to Christ’s birth over 2000 years ago. Next, we looked ahead to Jesus’ second coming. Today I want to explore Jesus’ presence now.
The work of The Kingdom began at Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and it will be fulfilled when He comes again in Glory. Until then, He remains with us, and there is more work to be done.
He is with us in the form of bread and wine. In John 6:56, Jesus goes on to say, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” Jesus once again reassures us of His ongoing presence with us with these words from Matthew 28:20, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”
Pay close attention to how Matthew begins and ends his Gospel. He starts with the birth of our Lord and concludes by challenging us to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:19). How do we make disciples of all nations? We do so by giving birth to Him in our own life, every day.
The Angel Gabriel greeted Mary with these words, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you.” We are told she was greatly troubled. She received reassurance with these words found in Luke 1:30, “Do not be afraid Mary you have found favor with God.” Mary responded by saying “Behold, I am the handmade of the Lord; let it be done unto me according to your word.” Luke 1:38
As we draw closer to Christmas, we should reflect on the reality that God has found favor in us too. Mary cooperated with God’s will. Will we? She trusted God! We must trust Him too. Mary is sometimes referred to as the New Ark of the Covenant. Let’s take a closer look why.
In 2 Samuel chapter 6, David went to Baale-judah, the hill country of Judea, to bring back the Ark of the Covenant. On the way there, David, in awe, said, “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me.” The Ark remained there in the house of Obededom for three months. When the Ark was brought to Jerusalem, King David was leaping and dancing along the way.
In Luke chapter one, we discover that Mary, like David, traveled to the hill country of Judah. She remained there for three months. When Elizabeth greeted Mary, John leapt in her womb, just like King David leapt with the Ark. And with words reminiscent of David’s, Elizabeth said “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Finally, the Ark of the Covenant contained manna, the Ten Commandments and the staff of the High Priest Aaron. Mary, as the New Ark, had in her womb The Bread of Life, the One who was the fulfillment of the commandments, and the True high priest who would offer His life on the cross for all sins. (Hebrew 8:1-7)
We are not Mary, the Mother of God, nor are we the Ark of the Covenant, but like them, we have The Bread of Life within us. We hold the commandments in our heart. At our Baptism, we were anointed Priest, Prophet and King.
Mary, as the New Ark of the Covenant, had the courage to say yes to God. Will we be willing to give birth to Jesus in our life? Will we say, “May it be done to me according to your word.”
God had the power to choose any place and time for His Son’s arrival. By His will, Jesus was born in a manger, in a cold, dark cave. He came to us in conditions of extreme poverty. When we peer inside ourselves, do we see a poverty of soul, and conditions not unlike a manger in a dirty animal stall?
Yes, Jesus was born in a messy place. Now let’s give birth to Him in the messes of our life. There was no room for Jesus in the inn. Will we make room for Him in our life? For Jesus to fulfill His destiny, Mary first had to give birth to Him. For us to answer our calling to bring Christ to others, we must be willing to give birth to Him too. Evangelizing others is not always easy. Even if it means groaning in labor pains, we must push Him out from within us, in order to share Him with others.
It was by the power of the Holy Spirit that Mary was able to conceive and give birth to the Christ-Child. By the same Holy Spirit, we too, can give birth to Christ in our life today.
Heavenly Father, in order to share the good news of your Son to the ends of the earth, I must be willing to give birth to Him in my life. Grant me the courage to say yes like Mary did. Amen.
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