Luke 1:28-30 (NLT)
Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!
Only three people in the entire Bible are noted to have found “favor with God”.
One is Jesus. Luke 2:52 states, “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.”
The second is Kind David. According to Acts 7:46, “David found favor with God and asked for the privilege of building a permanent Temple for the God of Jacob.”
And of course, we have Mary.
Jesus, the Son of God. King David, a man after God’s own heart. And Mary.
That’s some pretty heady company Mary is keeping. She is among the greats. However, it is clear that this honor does not come because she is seeking celebrity, honor or fame. It is in her poverty she is made powerful. It is in her modesty she is made magnificent. It is in her submissiveness that she is made special.
The Christmas Story is filled with contradictions to our preconceived notions of how things should really go. God chooses Mary, not because of her greatness but because of her plainness. Jesus is born into bed of straw, rather than to a throne. Shepherds are the first to hear the news.
God’s favor rests on Mary as a way to remind each and every one of us that God’s ways are not our ways. We jockey for a position at the head of the table. We self-improve to raise our standing in the eyes of others. We refine our lives to ensure comfort and ease are never far away. But God cares for none of these things. In the end, they mean nothing.
What would you need to give up to be more like Mary? What would need to change in your life to be a person of simplicity, trust, and modesty? I suspect the answer is that you would have to forego quite a bit.
But isn’t it worth the effort to know that you too have found favor? Wouldn’t you long to hear those words?
Lord of Heaven,
May we hear your words of favor today. May we know your love and peace in our own lives.
Reveal to us those areas of our lives that need to change. Show us those parts of our world that, while comfortable, keep us from knowing you better and finding your favor.