God had Mary in His mind before one day of her life had even begun. He told the prophet Isaiah about her, because He is omnipresent, He looked through time and saw this Steal Magnolia. God created Mary with strength enough to watch her oldest child hang on a cursed tree for the sins of all mankind. God created Mary with open petals of a magnolia so that she could receive the gift of His Son into her life.
Mary did not faint with fear at the arrival of the mighty angel Gabriel. It was his words and greeting that gave her consternation. She remained like a steal beam as the thin veil between heaven and earth was lifted, but she openly received all the angel’s instructions. In the movie “Steal Magnolia” Dolly Parton’s famous quote rings in my ears, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.” We women identify with that statement. Mary identified with that emotion. In the same moment she was concerned with Gabriel’s greeting all the while she praised God that He had given her this amazing task.
The other night as I read through these Christmas stories, I was laughing and crying at the same time. That is what the first Christmas was. It was a paradox. It was a swirl of varying emotions. It was a time of praise because God sent is Son and at the same time it was the beginning of a suicide mission for God’s Son. The moment Jesus entered our world the cross was always before Him.
Mary’s heart and mind were like a sponge. She soaked in the things of God. His words were like water to a dehydrated soul. She drank them in. Through out these first years of Jesus’ life, the Bible often says, “And Mary stored these things in her heart.” Her heart was a diary of the Lord’s goodness and majesty.
“Lord, open my heart and thoughts to Your ways. Make me a magnolia and give me the strength of steal so that I will not sway from Your Ways.”
What characteristic of Mary would you like God to emulate in your life?