Of all the Christmas movies I enjoy as an adult, The Nativity Story is my favorite. I love the honest emotions that each of the actors conveys—they remind me these were real people thrust into supernatural situations. In that culture, Mary might have been stoned to death for her out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Her family was ostracized. Joseph was seen as a man who was cheated upon by his young fiancée. And yet, during the darkest times leading up to the brightest day, they persevered.
We often ask the Lord, why do you not make life easier for us? Smooth our paths, smite our enemies. As Scripture teaches and the movie brings brilliantly to life, Jesus did not even make circumstances easy for himself. He was born in poor, uncomfortable conditions, persecuted from the outset. He and his parents had to flee to safety in Egypt, the same land his ancestors had fled from hundreds of years before. I don’t know if that teaches that there is value in suffering, or simply that the world is a difficult place to live in which to live. In either case, he did not exclude himself from affliction.
Mary, likely a teenager, was presented with what was an impossible situation from a human perspective. Yet she bore up under the weight of it with admirable grace and determination. How do I bear up under the circumstances the Lord requires of me? With grace and faith?
Meditate on the fact that the angel did not appear to Joseph at the same time he did to Mary. Mary had only the Lord to rely on for a time. Perhaps that cemented her faith and centered her before Joseph became a strong ally. There were no angels sent, either, to convince the people that Jesus was the Messiah. He would do that on his own, in his own time.
Part of the significance of Mary, a virtuous woman of no worldly remark, having been chosen as the mother of Jesus is that she shows us how we, virtuous people of no worldly remark, can respond when called to step up for God in difficult times. Part of the takeaway for us, too, is to trust God to reveal his truth in his timing—even when the years it may take seem difficult for us.
Mary trusted God and never looked back.
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Luke 1:38