“In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. Then the angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary for you have found favor with God.”
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. but his mother treasured all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51
What can I, a mature woman of 54, married for 35 years (almost 36) years, who has birthed three kids who are now fully grown and have families of their own, a grandmother of 2 and 1/2, and who has walked with the Lord for over forty years, what could I possibly learn from a young teenage girl who is still a virgin, not even married and has never ventured out into this great big world? What can I learn from a young peasant girl who has never even left her hometown of Nazareth? Well let me tell you. This “wordly woman” of 54 can learn plenty from this innocent child, especially how to live a pleasing life unto the Lord.
Mary joins a long list of people who God has singled out through out the history of mankind.
“This is the account of Noah and his family. Noah was a righteous man, the only blameless person living on earth at the time, and he walked in close fellowship with God.”
Genesis 6:9 NLT
“After the birth of Methuselah, Enoch lived in close fellowship with God for another 300 years, and he had other sons and daughters. Enoch lived 365 years, walking in close fellowship with God. Then one day he disappeared, because God took him.”
Genesis 5:22-24 NLT
Who is this young lady that God singled out? This is the woman God chose to be the mother of His One and Only Begotten Son, and she was hardly a woman. She had barely even entered her teenage years.
“Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.”
Isaiah 7:14 HCSB
Hundreds of years before Mary was even born, God told Isaiah the prophet about her. God had Mary in His mind before even one day of Mary’s life came to be. What type of woman is this that the LORD GOD would favor her so much? She is the type of young woman this older woman wants to emulate. I am first drawn to her heart condition. And I believe it is the one trait that singled her out to God.
Gabriel greets her and says “you who are highly favored!” This is how I want to be known by God. “Highly Favored!” with an exclamation mark. She is a recipient of God’s grace. She is not the one who bestows favor, but it is God who gives it to her, and she willingly receives God’s benefits. That is it. She has not worked to get God’s favor but she has a heart that willingly accepts God’s favor. Her heart was open. Her heart was genuine. Mary’s reaction intrigues me. The presence of this impressive messenger angel did not frighten her as Gabriel had done to Zechariah. “But she was greatly troubled by his words and began to wonder about the meaning of this greeting.” It wasn’t Gabriel’s presence that troubled her; it was the meaning of Gabriel’s greeting that troubled her. She began to wonder about the meaning of this greeting.
Mary had a pondering spirit. She was a greater thinker. She must have had a meditative spirit. She was contemplative. I wonder? Why was it Gabriel’s greeting and not his presence that frightened her? When the thin veil between heaven and earth was lifted and Mary saw this Mighty Angel of God, was that a normal episode for her? Had she been so sensitive to the heavenly beings that this manifistation did not bother her?
Paul tells us “whatever is true, whatever is right, whatever is trustworthy think on such things.” In Colossians 3:1-2 “Therefore if you have been raised with Christ, keep seeking the things above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Keep thinking about things above, not things on the earth.”
Were these the things Mary kept in her thoughts? Was this appearance a norm for her because she fixed her mind on things of God and not of earth? It was the greeting that troubled her. Her contemplative heart and mind is what draws me to her. King David had such a spirit about him. He once penned these words:
“At night I remember my music; I meditate in my and my spirit ponders.” Psalms 77:6
Such was the spirit of this young girl. God chose this type of personality to be the mother of his Son. One who would treasure the events in Jesus’ life and she would hide them in her heart.
I call her a “Steel Magnolia.” Yes I name her after one of my favorite movies. But how befitting the name. She would need the strength of steel to trust the plan of God in her life. It would be this steel-like strength that would keep her planted at the foot of the cross as she watched her eldest brutally crucified on a Roman cross. It was her meditations of God’s commands that steeled her. But she is also a magnolia. Having a heart totally open to the activity of God in her life. Mary was a paradox, a mix of strength and vulnerability.
So this is the trait this older woman gleans from this younger woman. A heart that contemplates the Word of God and a mind that ponder’s the activity of God. A mother who treasured the Son of God.
As I have already mentioned, I can unearth many treasures of God from the generations that surround me. I consider my oldest daughter one of my wisest advisors. I look at my middle child and see another comtemplative spirit. I see the mighty man of God my youngest child has become. Yes, I can learn much from those who have gone before me, and I can learn much from those who are coming behind me.
And now I ponder and fix my thoughts on the things of God.