Because happy is wholly insufficient for the life God desires for you.
Given enough time and tinsel, anyone can “make merry.” But if making “Mary” is our goal for the new year, we may have some work to do.
What would that even look like, to be more Mary than merry? Well, for one, it means skip the mere wrappings and trappings of a season, and trade it for more of a Monday-Sunday walking, talking relationship with Jesus.
Exchange a mere holiday, for HOLY DAYS… all-the-days.
O come all ye faithful… every day.
Prepare Him room… in every room.
For Mary, Jesus was always more than a once-a-year occasion or box to be hauled down from the attic and enjoyed in the dark of winter but packed away when the sun shines again. Jesus was not just born of Mary. He was born in Mary—a new life in her that began a new life for her and never ended.
If you have ever cared for children, you know that from babes to bigs the seasons change but never end. God could have sent Jesus in any way He chose… as a grown man, as Spirit alone. But He didn’t. He sent Him as an infant. On purpose.
And not just because it was prophesied or to show us that Jesus was fully man… but to force the modeling of what a relationship with the Savior should look like. Parenting is a sanctifying and holy work. Infants don’t require part of you. They require all of you.
Jesus came as a babe… to show us that Christ makes demands to which we must bow, to show us that loving The Son requires daily and constant attention, a reordering of priorities, and an editing of wants and needs. God wanted us to be consumed with and concerned for Jesus–the way we are with a baby placed in our hearts and homes. God wanted us to get used to sharing time and space with Jesus, all the time and in all the spaces.
To truly welcome Jesus, Mary had to live differently— humbly and obediently from before they met, to the day they met, and every day until they met again in glory.
You want to be mightily used by God in the new year? In a Mary kinda way? Intimately connected to Christ AND present for the miracles and mercies of the Gospel?
Humility and obedience. Make these your resolutions. These are not just the main ingredients in this secret sauce. They are the only ingredients. Prized over charisma, academics, pedigrees, opportunism, ambition, or zeal for a cause… God is looking for humility and obedience—faith enough to be like Mary. A WILLING SERVANT.
In Mary, God found someone willing to be both entirely EMPTY and entirely FILLED in the same breath. Someone willing to fight the demands of flesh by OFFERING HER OWN FLESH. In one “YES,” she said “NO” to every expectation she had for her life, every plan, everything that would resemble normalcy or comfort. Mary said, “NO” to the quiet life of a quiet wife, to admiration or reverence in her own day, “NO” to predictability and comfort.
Mary said, “YES” to a complete and thorough loss of control. “YES” to a total release of sovereignty over SELF, a voluntary vessel for another’s will. And she was glad about it. (How’s that for a counterculture example to follow— in a day where we exalt right, liberty, and privilege?)
She even wrote a song about it.
“My soul glorifies… my spirit rejoices… I am blessed and God has done great things for me!” That will cost my life, my whole heart, my family, and my Son.
Luke 1:46-55 is praise and rejoicing followed by 15 lines about what God had already done, not what Mary hoped He would do. 15 lines about God’s faithfulness TO OTHERS—to those who fear the Lord, to the humble, to the hungry, to the poor and powerless.
Was Mary lowly in circumstance? Yes. Mighty in Christ? Absolutely. And shouldn’t she be? With mighty Christ within.
Mighty in humility, fearless in faith, abounding in obedience.
So was the SON. So was the MOTHER. So is the Spirit. So should be the Church.
The great missed point of Mary is not that God used someone COMMON, it is that God used someone EXTRAORDINARY.
Would you dare to make such room in your flesh, heart, and mind for the Savior today? Would you yield every earthly thing for HIS heavenly delight?
God asks the same of us today. Far from stables and mangers HE IS STILL LOOKING for HUMBLE SERVANTS to CARRY THE CHRIST away from the manger of Christmas, away from Easter’s cross and tomb… and out into the world. I pray you have a very “Mary” new year—a year where Christ is magnified in you, glorified by you, and multiplied through you.