Speaking of Life 3003 | Mary’s Restoration
The virgin Mary. There are thousands of paintings and sculptures depicting her image. Millions of prayers have been offered to her. Churches and cathedrals have been built in Mary’s name. Choirs have sung soaring choruses to her. At this time of year, people even put images of her on their front lawns.
Yet, for all the adulation heaped upon her, Mary was once viewed by some as immoral with little hope for the future. She was found pregnant before she was officially married to her betrothed husband, Joseph. This was not socially accepted and Mary, no doubt, was the recipient of judgment and disapproval. Through no fault of her own, she was marginalized, and I can only imagine how often she felt hurt and lonely from the rejection and judgment.
While visiting her cousin Elizabeth, Mary was reminded that she was the recipient of the Lord’s favor. The child she carried was the Lord and Savior of all humanity. This good news filled Mary with joy, and in Luke 1:46-55, we read her song:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” Luke 1:46-55
Before he was even born, Jesus was rewriting Mary’s story, turning a tale of reproach into a tale of rejoicing. The reality of the baby to be born caused his ostracized pregnant mother to say, “all generations will call me blessed.” No matter the circumstance, from the misperceptions during pregnancy, to apprehension during the flight to Egypt, to fear of loss when Jesus was 12 and stayed behind at the temple, to the horror and shock experienced at the foot of the cross, Jesus was restoring Mary. And when she went through that inexpressible glory of the empty tomb on Easter morning, she was filled with joy, another gift from a one-of-a-kind Son. Arguably, Mary was the first to experience the restoration Christ would bring to all humanity.
The next time you hear the name “Mary” or see an image of her, think about the restoration and renewal that Jesus brought her and brings you. He turned her despair into joy, and he can do the same for you.
The Advent season is an excellent time to remind ourselves that Jesus’ coming is good news for all, especially those who are poor, broken, and in despair.
Let us celebrate the God who can rewrite our story and turn our mourning into rejoicing.
I’m Greg Williams, living in his joy and speaking of life.