Commentary by Walter Albritton


December 22


Mary, Blessed Mother of Our Savior

Luke 2:1-20

Key Verse: Luke 2:7


            Our calendars constantly remind us that the birth of Jesus was a turning point in history. No other birth has had such a profound impact upon humankind.

            We call it a “holy night,” when “love came down” to earth. There was “a wondrous star.” Angels were singing “Alleluia to our King,” for Christ the Savior was born in that “little town of Bethlehem.” As Christians, we proclaim to the world that when the Virgin Mary delivered that “Holy infant, so tender and mind,” it was “the dawn of redeeming grace.”

            We presume to go even further, not in disrespect of other religions but in bold affirmation of our own faith, to invite the whole world to “come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn King.” We dare not prostitute the Bible by presenting this Holy Child as one of the world’s great religious leaders; we must say with conviction, “Let earth receive her King,” for “Joy” has come to the world.

            We cannot back away sheepishly from the angelic announcement heard by the shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” The baby born in the city of David meant great joy to “all people.” In those two words, we have our imperative for missions, to make Christ known to all people!

            The New Testament helps us to understand who this infant was. Here is the testimony of John: “So the Word became human and lived here on earth among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the only Son of the Father” (John 1:14).

            Peter understood his identity: “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).

            Paul had no doubt: “God’s purpose was to show his wisdom in all its rich variety to all the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms. They will see this when Jews and Gentiles are joined together in his church. This was his plan from all eternity, and it has been carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10, 11).

            John the Revelator put the bugle to his lips: “Look, the home of God is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them” (John 21:3).

            The lowly shepherds believed the good news about Jesus. They were different men after the angels sang, so different that they went to Bethlehem to find the babe, and to testify about what they had seen and heard.

            Joseph believed and allowed his faith to grow. God’s plan called for a humble man who would trust God and care for Mary and the baby. Joseph was that man.

            God’s plan also called for a young woman, a virgin, who would accept the mission of birthing the babe in “a cattle stall” while oxen were lowing and flocks were sleeping. Mary was that woman, accepting her servant role with quiet submission.

            So, Christmas has come again. In these days, we sing the best music the world can ever hear. We gladly rejoice in, and proclaim, His birth. We invite all who will to come with us and “adore Him, Christ the Lord.”

            With thanks to Phillips Brooks, we sing the beautiful prayer: “O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today. We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!”

            However, let us remember that none of this would have been possible without the cooperation of the woman we call Mary, blessed mother of our Savior.

            Mary had the faith to believe that her child was the Messiah. Her faith grew as she witnessed Jesus begin his ministry by turning water into wine (John 2:5). After Jesus had ascended into Heaven, Mary is among the disciples praying in the Upper Room when the Spirit falls upon them with Pentecostal power.

            May we, in celebrating Mary’s faithfulness, ask the Lord to allow our faith to grow, so that every day, in every way, we remain among those who are willing to “Go, tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere, that Jesus Christ is born”!

            Mary had her turn at bat. Now we have ours. Merry Christmas! + + +