Matthew 1:16. and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ.
Mary is the fifth woman named in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. If you’ve been reading along with this advent devotional throughout this Christmas season you may remember the first four: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Bathsheba (the wife of Uriah). Each a gentile, each not without scandal, each a surprising addition to the genealogy of the Christ.
At first, Mary might seem to stand in contrast to these four grandmothers of Jesus. A pious Jew with an undefiled past, Mary is untainted, pure, some would even say sinless (she wasn’t). Surely this is why she was chosen right? Because of her perfection?
But if there is anything we can learn from the ancestry of Jesus it is that God chooses imperfect people to express his grace. And this includes Mary, the mother of God.
Mary didn’t earn the right to be used of God.
Mary wasn’t blessed because of her background.
Mary wasn’t called because she had been so faithful in the past.
Mary hadn’t done anything special before the angel appeared.
Mary wasn’t chosen for her courage, her charisma, or even her character.
Mary didn’t deserve to have the life of Christ in her.
Mary was granted the favor of God because he is faithful, not because she was. She was chosen because of God’s grace, not her own glory. She was used by God because he is good, not because she was. Her story is all of grace.
Luke 1:30. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
In fact, we might say that Mary is the one “mother of Jesus” who didn’t do anything. She didn’t risk her life like Tamar or Rahab. She didn’t move to a foreign land like Ruth. She didn’t have to trust through trauma like Bathsheba. She simply believed and received.
Luke 1:38. And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”
Just as Mary received the Christ into her life by faith, we too have an opportunity to do the same. We don’t have to earn or deserve the indwelling life of Jesus, we simply have to receive it by faith. God’s favor has come to us in the person of Jesus. Will you receive him today? Will today be the advent of Christ into your heart?
This Christmas Eve will you say humbly like Mary did, “Let it be to me according to your word.”?
Have you received God’s saving grace? What fears or expectations keep you from receiving the grace of God? Is Christmas a season of earning for you, or a season of grace?