This Christmas season I have been spending time thinking about Mary, Jesus’ mother. We don’t have a lot of details about her life other than the few offered to us in the Gospels. Here is a sampling.

  • Mary learns from God she will have a child, Jesus.
  • She utters some of the most magnificent words in scripture in Luke 1 known as the Magnificat.
  • Gives birth to Jesus in Bethlehem.
  • Is visited by gentiles (shepherds).
  • Flees to Egypt to escape King Herod’s order to kill males age 2 and under.
  • Takes Jesus to the temple to be circumsized and learns a sword will pierce her soul, which alludes to the coming suffering of her son.
  • Is frantic when Jesus is left behind at the temple as a young boy.
  • Was on the receiving end of public ridicule when a crowd said, “That is just Mary’s son.”
  • Tells Jesus wine is running out at a wedding.
  • Is present when Jesus is crucified.

Clearly Mary’s life was not easy and was filled with both extraordinary joy and overwhelming grief and sadness. But through it all, Mary persisted through what was tough and thrived and rose to the occasion when needed.

Mary understood some things that sustained her in the midst of the good and the bad. Mary knew she was loved by God, was created by God, mattered profoundly to God, and that God was working through her life moment to moment in the midst of whatever was happening.

I believe what was true for Mary is also true for each of us. Our lives, each of them, are incredibly important to God. God loves us, gives us life, we matter profoundly to God, and God indeed is working through our lives moment to moment. Verse after verse in scripture reflects these truths.  If we can learn to trust these four things, we will find ourselves sustained and peace-filled through all of life’s ups and downs.

As we move into 2019 in the coming days, I invite you to join me in praying about each of these four points and what God might have to say to us through them. I pray that each of us will find strength and gratitude from them. And as we close 2018, please know what a blessing it is to be among you as together we continue doing Christ’s work. Love and peace.