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Mary – Love

 
The way Luke describes the sacred scenes before the manger, the love emanating from Mary almost seems to be the inspiration for the title of the classic Christmas carol: O Come All Ye Faithful. The arrival of Jesus was an advent of love. Love certainly was the catalyst behind the incarnation according to John’s gospel.
 
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16
 
Mary is the one through whom God chose to give this extraordinary gift of love to the world. She would be able to love Him not only because she would be His mom, but also because He first loved her before she even realized what love could be.
 
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another…We love because he first loved us.
1 John 4:7-11, 19
 
Mary was a new mom. And if she was like so many other mothers who have described the elation of meeting her firstborn after the difficult journey through pregnancy and the painful finish line of pushing and straining of labor: love indeed wins the day. Love overflows onto the little one now out of the womb and into the arms of a new mother. All the pain and struggle to get to this moment was real, yet now fades into overwhelming love that washes those moments out of the picture. Love had arrived and was swaddled in the manger. Mary was in love with her new love and likely had counted all His fingers and toes more than a time or two. Now she’s taking it all in as new stories from the shepherds sound like something she experienced nine months earlier.
 
These stories would have sounded unbelievable, had it not happened in a similar fashion to her.
 
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
Luke 2:19
 
Considering all this from twenty-one centuries later, it is as if Mary could have been nodding in agreement with the lyrics that would be written over a thousand years in the future from those first-century moments:
 
O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant. O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of Angels!
 
The earliest presentation of Jesus to the Jewish people took place at his Pidyon Ha’ben “Redemption of the First-born Son” ceremony where Jesus was presented to Simeon in the temple. The final presentation of Jesus to the Jewish people took place in the same city of Jerusalem, but with very different circumstances.
 
It would be the moment when Simeon’s prophecy would come true as Jesus stood before Pilate who condemned Jesus to be crucified. Nails soon would pierce His hands and feet and a sword his side. A piercing that was spoken prophetically over three decades prior not far from Calvary’s cross finally would take place in the heart of His mother named Mary. Her heart would overflow once again with love, but this time accompanied by sorrow and sadness as she watched her Son lay down His life all because of love.
 
The advent of love had come right on time, just as the angel had said. Now her heart and life never would be the same. Neither should ours when we allow the love of Christmas fully to be born in us as we receive this great gift of love from the loving hand of God. May we present our lives to God in full devotion as we seek to live for His glory as we both experience and share His love.
Pastor Kip Tyler