When I think of Mary the mother of Jesus in light of the Christmas story, I typically can’t help but think of Imogene Herdman’s portrayal of Mary in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbra Robinson. And then I can’t help but smile to myself.
Imogene Herdman is not who you would have thought would be chosen to represent Mary in the Christmas pageant. She was a bully, always dirty, and not Mary-like at all.
Regardless of whether or not Imogene Herdman is representing Mary in the Christmas pageant or not, it is generally understood that Mary is a pivotal part to the Christmas story. She did give birth to Jesus, after all.
Us singles (and anyone really) can learn five important life lessons from Mary the mother of Jesus.
Let’s dive right in…
Five things singles can learn from Mary:
1. It’s okay not to fully understand God’s plan
Let’s take a look at what happened when the angel appeared to Mary…
“‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’
But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.
And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end’.”
Seems like a solid plan right? Mary would have a baby, and then name Him Jesus.
Only one hitch… She was a virgin. It was impossible for her to be pregnant, and so thus impossible for this plan to unfold.
Mary was confused herself. “And Mary said to the angel, ‘How will this be, since I am a virgin?‘” (Lk 1:34)
Yeah, if it was me I’d be asking the same question.
Here’s the angel’s response: “And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy- the Son of God… For nothing will be impossible with God’.” (Lk 1:35, 37)
The plan would be impossible, if it weren’t for the power of God and the Holy Spirit.
Sometimes we don’t understand God’s plan for our lives.
Maybe we don’t know yet what His plan is. Maybe we have an idea of what He wants us to do, but it seems impossible. We might feel unqualified, wondering How can I do this? Me? Impossible…
But that’s where we have to remember that nothing is impossible with God.
So when you feel unqualified, worried, or unsure about God’s plan for you, just think about Mary and how she felt that way too. Then, remember that nothing is impossible with God.
When God has a plan, nothing can stop that plan. Not even the impossible.
2. Be a servant of God, willing and obedient
So once Mary understood how God’s plan for her was going to happen, she replied to the angel.
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Lk 1:38)
When God gives us a task, may we be like Mary! May we understand that we are God’s servants, willing to do what He’s asked with an obedient and happy heart.
Are we like Mary or Jonah when God gives us something to do? Do we accept the assignment as His willing servants, or run in fear and face consequences that might be as big as a very large fish?
Mary wasn’t like Jonah. She didn’t run away in fear from God’s plan. She boldly accepted it, willing to undergo potential humiliation and disgrace to follow after God.
For nine months, Mary carried the Son of God in her womb. She was given a very important task, yet she wasn’t stuck-up about it.
She remembered that this miracle of her conceiving whilst a virgin was the doing of God, and she gave credit where credit was due.
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call be blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.” (LK 1:46-49)
Mary was humble, freely giving God glory for the miracle that was inside of her.
When God does something incredible in our lives, do we freely give credit back to Him? Or do we try to keep it for ourselves?
4. Treasure God-things in your heart
One of my all-time favorite verses in the Christmas story is Luke 2:19: “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Her baby boy had just been born, and shepherds had come from the fields to see baby Jesus and worship Him. I bet it was a pretty exciting day. A day that Mary would probably never want to forget.
So she treasured the events in her heart. Treasured how she had just delivered the Son of God. How shepherds had just appeared, glorifying and praising God.
Do we record how God is working in our lives?
Journaling is great for this. It’s important to treasure God-things in our hearts, so we can look back and remember how He has worked in our lives. So we can praise Him for His incredible deeds.
5. The importance of a God-fearing man
Thus far we’ve been focusing on Luke’s telling of Jesus’ birth, because he tells it from Mary’s perspective. But now, we’re going to flip over to Matthew to take a look at Joseph.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.” (Matthew 1:18-19)
I’m not entirely sure how betrothal worked back then, but since Mary was engaged to Joseph and she was suddenly found to be pregnant without ever being with Joseph (read: they didn’t have sex, but it just feels weird to say that in regards to Mary and Joseph LOL!), then well, Joseph could stone her for committing adultery.
But he didn’t make plans to stone her. He decided to divorce her quietly, to keep her from shame.
Of course, we know that Mary hadn’t committed adultery, and soon an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream, telling him “‘do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins’.” (Mt. 1:20b-21)
When Joseph woke up he did what the angel said and didn’t divorce Mary.
Odds are Mary didn’t have a say in who her future spouse would be, but thankfully Joseph was a good one.
Joseph was a just man. He feared God (which is a good kind of fear) and obeyed Him. He was kind to Mary and loved her, even when all signs pointed to her cheating on him.
As singles, we see here the importance of a God-fearing man. Someone who believes God and takes Him at His word. This is the sort of fellow we should look for in a future husband, and we should pray that our future husband would have faith in God like Joseph did.
I don’t know if Mary was single or not during all of this.
The whole “betrothed” factor is kinda confusing to me, since we don’t really do that anymore.
But regardless of if she was single or not, us singles can still learn important lessons from her response to learning God’s plan.
If this post encouraged you, would you please share it with a friend so it can encourage her as well? Thank you! :)