On Monday, I wrote about the humility of Joseph. He did not want to make an example of Mary, and if she had been unfaithful to him, he wanted the divorce to be done quietly even if that invited questioning into his own behavior.
A discussion about humility in Advent would not be complete without looking at Mary’s willingness to become a social outcast for the sake of her God.
Getting pregnant outside of marriage was a major problem in Jewish culture at the time, and Mary would have understood the strange looks she would get from her friends and family. They would perceive her as a sinner when she was truly following the will of God. That is a tall order. After all, we all want the respect of our family and friends. We want others to think of us as good people most of the time. Mary sacrificed all of that. She surrendered her reputation for the sake of God.
After the angel had outlined everything to Mary and told her what was about to happen, her response in Luke 1:38 was, “I am the Lord’s servant.” She didn’t tell the angel to go somewhere else and find a better person. She didn’t say that she was too afraid. She took the adventure that God laid out in front of her.
I use the word adventure somewhat hesitantly, but if you think about it, she was at the beginning of this journey of pregnancy, and she had no idea where it would end up. She knew obviously that there would be a child inside of her, but she did not know what her family would say. She probably knew they wouldn’t be happy, but there would be challenges on this journey.
What made it an adventure at least in my mind is that Mary was going towards a desirable outcome. As a Jewish woman at that time, she would have been waiting for her Messiah. She would’ve understood the implications of her child’s birth. Despite the obstacles that might stand in her way, she knew that the end result of having the Messiah come was a worthwhile endeavor. It is kind of like people climbing mountains today. They endure the difficulties to get to the reward of the summit.
If we get all of this straight then, Mary had to be willing to go on a frightening adventure that she knew would have a happy ending but simultaneously understood would be difficult.
The lesson here is obvious and hundreds of sermons have probably been preached on this topic. I don’t know that I’m adding anything new to the discussion today, but after I talked about the humility of Joseph on Monday, it really would not be appropriate to fail to mention the humility of Mary. She was a true picture of one who will follow God wherever necessary not only for a desirable outcome for herself but also for all humanity.