The day we celebrate the first coming of the Christ child is upon us, and during this season, my oldest little boy has found a deep affection for Mary—the woman chosen to bear the Son of God. I honestly don’t know who, other than the Holy Spirit, has caused him to reflect on her so much, but it is precious and has caused my own heart to ponder. When saying his very simple, short prayers at bedtime, he has consistently said: “And God, I can’t wait to get to heaven to give Mary a kiss.” Just this morning, that same nearly four-year-old wanted to “sing that wonderful song again.” The song he was referring to was “Mary, Did You Know?” and we did sing it, and I again wondered—what all did she know? Rather than question why my little boy is so curious about Mary, I’m choosing to question what we can all learn about the woman chosen to be the mother of God and what her role in the greatest story tells us as parents.
“For he has had regard for the humble state of his bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.” (Luke 1:48)
While none of us were chosen to bear or raise the Savior, we are each chosen to parent the children He has given us. Mary was a young, virgin girl with no earthly status in life. With more mature faith and trust in God than most adults, she responded with complete obedience to the call on her life and said, “may it be done to me according to your word”. Zechariah, meanwhile, was also chosen to parent a prolific figure and was visited by the angel Gabriel who told him his wife would bear a son. Zechariah, in stark contrast to Mary, was a temple priest, an old man who upheld the law. And yet, when he received word that his barren wife would also bear a son, his response was doubt, and the result was being silenced by God because he “did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time” (Luke 1:20). While both of these soon-to-be parents seemed unlikely candidates to even have children, God miraculously chose them each to play a siginficant part in raising two of the most substantial figures of the faith. And He did so because of grace. No matter your social status, age, or knowledge of the Bible, God chose you to parent the children He has given you. You don’t need to be anyone the world sees as special; you simply need to see your role as special, because you were chosen to be a parent, and that is a calling unlike any other.
Nothing will ever be asked of us like what was asked of Mary or Joseph. We will never raise and love a child who will die on a cross and bear the sins of the world. But we will be asked to do things as parents that offer us little to no foreknowledge, instead depending on complete faith in our response. The question is: will we? Will we, as parents, truly surrender our children and ourselves to the will of God with complete faith that He is faithful? Zecheriah questioned God and went mute, while Mary simply said yes. As parents, let’s work on our own faith so as to not question the Holy Spirit, but to humbly accept what He plans and purposes to do. And let’s recognize that our role does not start and end with children. We are always parents, and they will always be our God-ordained children—even when they leave the nest and we no longer oversee day-to-day decisions. Even after He ascended to heaven, “these all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14). Lift up your children now, and lift them up all their days.
On this day leading up to Christmas, these are my thoughts. I thank God He chose me to be a mother. I thank God He chose to create my children. And while we fail and fall short daily, God’s mercies are new every morning, and we have new opportunities to parent with the same grace He extends to us. I am so grateful God appointed one particular girl to show us what obedience looks like as a parent. Mary cared more about God’s plan than her own and responded with overwhelming faith. This one seemingly insignificant virgin gave birth to God incarnate! She raised Him, loved Him as only a parent could, and then watched as He died for sins that were not His. My heart is overwhelmed with the gift of Christ and the love of a woman who watched her little boy cling to a cross for us.
For His Namesake,
Gabbie Nolen-Fratantoni loves Jesus and is passionate about serving him through the arts by leading worship and writing for various ministries. She is married to Greg, her hard-working, iron-sharpening-iron spouse. They are opposite in personality but equal in dedication to their marriage and family. Gabbie and Greg are the proud and sleep-deprived parents of two active, sweet, and fun boys and are eagerly anticipating the arrival of their first daughter in March 2016. An Aggie and graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Gabbie is a small-town country girl trapped in the city and loves getting to know people and encouraging them as they seek to know Jesus and make him known.
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