A little encouragement for you today. Hang in there! Xx
Ali @ Humble Mumblings
A little encouragement for you today. Hang in there! Xx
Ali @ Humble Mumblings
Time flies doesn’t it? I cannot believe that a year has passed since I joined WordPress in a rather timid and uncertain fashion. Time spent working out how the technological side of things worked. Deliberating over whether to “take the plunge” and share what I had written.
Initially I only put pen to paper as a form of ‘therapy’ in order to offload and make sense of my thoughts during a time of challenge. Writing was a way for me to express how I was feeling at the time. I also intentionally used it as a way to dive deeper into God’s word and come closer to Him. I am surprised that I have written as much as I have but also wish I had written so much more. Life in the early part of the year prevented any writing at all, much to my frustration!
As I now move into a new year full of possibilities with WordPress and a new chapter of my life with work, I can finally put finger to keyboard more regularly. There is so much more I want to write and so many ideas I want to explore.
I’m so glad I committed to writing my ‘Woman, who art thou series?’ as an act of obedience and I hope that it has been enjoyed by those who’ve read it and that it has been a blessing. A few more blogs to go before it is finished and I have a few ideas to develop it too.
Last, but my no means least, I must say ‘Thank you’ to my followers (126 so far) who have regularly read and commented on my blogs, those of you who have encouraged and challenged me. Thank you !! I find it so interesting to see where in the world my readers live. It’s wonderful to know that readers live across the world in far away places – so exciting!
My pledge this year, now that I have more time is to commit to reading more of your blogs and to engage more via comments and encouragement.
Here’s to another year! Can’t wait!
Ali @ Humble Mumblings xx
Mary, mother of Jesus, instantly, humbly and joyfully submitted to God’s will without doubt or question. She could hardly have had a more godly response to the announcement of Jesus’ birth. Mary’s response to the angel’s unexpected news revealed her true character. It demonstrated that she was a young woman of mature faith and one who was a worshipper of the true God.
In the second part of this blog on Mary, I’m going to focus on her song that is often called ‘The Magnificat’, the first word in the Latin translation of this passage. Mary’s song has often been used as the basis for choral music and hymns. Like Hannah , the mother of Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1-10), Mary glorified God in song for what he was going to do for the world through her. In both songs, God is pictured as a champion of the poor, the oppressed, and the despised.
Mary understood that Christ’s birth fulfilled God’s promise to Abraham to be merciful to God’s people forever (Genesis 22:16-18). She was not surprised when her special son announced that he was the Messiah. She had known Jesus’ mission before his birth.
To put the song in context, after receiving this news from the angel, Mary filled with joy and bubbling over with praise, went to visit Elizabeth. There is nothing in God’s word to suggest that Mary was fleeing the shame of her premature pregnancy. Perhaps Elizabeth was a kindred spirit with whom Mary could share her heart. The angel had informed Mary about Elizabeth’s pregnancy. We might assume then, that it completely natural for her to visit a close relative who was both a strong believer and also expecting her first son by a miraculous birth, also announced by an angel (Luke 1: 13-19). Both women had been blessed by God in a supernatural way. I can imagine the excitement as these two women gathered together to share their news and rejoice together in God’s goodness to them both! Oh, to be a fly on the wall!
Apparently the Holy Spirit told Elizabeth that Mary’s child was the Messiah because Elizabeth called Mary “the mother of my Lord” as she greeted her. I’m sure that during Mary’s journey to Elizabeth she must have been wondering if the events of the last few days were real. Elizabeth’s greeting must have strengthened her faith as she confirmed what the angel had told her. Mary’s pregnancy may have seemed impossible, but her wise relative believe in the Lord’s faithfulness and rejoiced with Mary in her blessed condition.
41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Luke 1: 41 – 45
Mary responds to this prophetic message with one of her own. ‘Magnificat’ is Latin for the first word of Mary’s outpouring of praise. Her song expresses unspeakable joy and it reminds me of the Psalms. It is a song filled with hope of the Messiah to come. Mary’s song not only echoes two of Hannah’s prayers but also shows a knowledge of the law, psalms and the prophets.
I believe that we can learn a lot from the example of Mary. God is the only one that she magnified. She praises the glory and majesty of God whilst acknowledging her own lowliness. She took no credit for anything good on her self. When Mary said “From now on all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48) she was not being proud but rather recognising and accepting the gift that God had given her. She praised the Lord for his attributes, naming some of the chief ones specifically, including His power, his mercy, and his holiness. She confesses God as the one who has done great things for her. Her song is all about God’s greatness. Mary worshipped God from her heart. She was in awe of God’s grace towards her. She seems overwhelmed that God would do this for her. It was customary in Jewish prayers to recite God’s past faithfulness to His people. Mary followed that convention in her song in an abbreviated form. This can be seen in how she recalls how God had helped Israel, in fulfillment of all His promises. How amazing it must have felt that her child would be a living fulfillment of God’s promises. No wonder her heart overflowed with such praise!!
Welcome to the sixth blog in my series called “Woman, who art thou?” which explores key women in the Bible and how their examples are relevant to us today. In this blog, I’m going to be exploring the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and in particular, her visit from the Angel Gabriel and her response. I write with a little reticence but only because I want to make sure that I do her justice, being that she is the mother of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The blog will be in three parts. The second blog will focus more on the Magnificat – Mary’s response of worship. The third blog will focus on Mary’s relationship with her son.
So, who was Mary? Mary was a first century BC Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth. She was young – probably a teenager, poor and female. It was quite normal for girls of that culture to be promised in marriage while they were still as young as thirteen years of age. Marriages were ordinarily arranged by the bridegroom or his parents through the girl’s father. To be honest, she had all the characteristics that, to the people of her day, would make her unusable by God for any major task. But yet God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience He has ever demanded of anyone. Centuries earlier, God had promised David that David’s kingdom would last forever (2 Samuel 7:16). This promise was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus, a direct descendent of David, whose kingdom will never end.
Motherhood is a privilege, a painful one, but a privilege nonetheless. Mary, at a young age, had the unique privilege of being mother to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. This is why she is seen as being blessed among women. She had found favour with God. Mary herself, in the ‘Magnificat’, testified that all generations would regard her as profoundly blessed by God.
“….for he has been mindful of the humble servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me – holy is His name”
Luke 1: 48-49
Was she being proud? No, she was recognizing and accepting the gift God had given her. Mary was showing complete humility and glorifying God in song for what God was going to do for the world through her.
Until the visitation of the Angel Gabriel, Mary’s life was quite ordinary. She had recently become engaged to a carpenter, Joseph, and was anticipating married life. She had no clue that her life was about to change in such a dramatic way. This was not the first time that the angel had appeared. Gabriel had visited Zechariah, as well as Mary and even the prophet Daniel, some 500 years earlier. Each time, he brought important messages from God.
I would imagine that, once Mary had got over the shock of being in the presence of an angel (if that is even possible!), when Gabriel greeted her she might have been puzzled as to what was coming next (Luke 1:29). What did this heavenly being want with her?! Maybe she felt like she had won the grand prize in a contest that she had not even entered. It’s no wonder she was puzzled and frightened. What came next was the news that almost every women in Israel hoped to hear – that her child would be the Messiah. God’s promised Saviour and the fulfillment of scripture. God’s announcement of a child to be born, throughout scripture, was met with various responses:
What really stands out to me about Mary is that she does not doubt what the angel tells her, not even for a second! She does not refuse to believe it or laugh it off as an impossible task. Rather she asked how pregnancy would be possible because she was still a virgin. Gabriel told her that her baby would be God’s son.
“You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his Kingdom will never end.” Luke 1: 31-33
“…The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God” Luke 1: 35
His blessing on Mary, the honour of being the mother of the Messiah, would cause her much pain and come at a high cost to her personally: with her story about being made pregnant by the Holy Spirit, she risked being considered crazy; her peers would ridicule her; her fiance would come close to leaving her; her son would be rejected and murdered. But through her son would come the world’s only hope, and this is why Mary has been praised by countless generations as the young girl who ‘found favour with God’. Mary’s submission was part of God’s plan to bring about our salvation. I’m quite in awe of her willing obedience to God, something I can only aspire to!
“I am the Lord’s servant….May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38)
When Mary said that, she didn’t know about the tremendous opportunity she would have. She only knew that God was asking her to serve him, and she willingly obeyed.
Long time, no blog! Life has been busy. I’ll fill you in soon!
At last, I can get back to writing!