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This Christmas, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mary.

We are always focused on baby Jesus in the manger- obviously, that’s why we celebrate the birth of our Savior and Lord, “God with us” Emmanuel, during the Christmas season! But lately, my thoughts have been turned to Mary, the mother of that precious little one who was born in a stable a few thousand years ago.

She’s the epitome of grace, courage, and trust in God’s plans. I mean, seriously, can you imagine being young, engaged, and planning your life with your future husband- how many kids you’ll have, decorating the house, pretty sure of the simple, uninterrupted course your life is on. And then, God shows up in the midst of your carefully laid plans and says, “Mary, you have been faithful and I’m so pleased with you that I have chosen YOU to be the mother of my Son, Jesus.”

Umm…excuse me?

I don’t know for sure, but Mary must have had some doubts. It’s no big deal in our culture today to be pregnant and single, but back then, the public disgrace she would have endured, especially if her fiance rejected her and she had to go it alone, would have been heartbreaking. And I’m sure the thought probably darkened her spirit more than once! But her future husband, steady and hardworking Joseph, heard from God about this plan as well and changed his mind to stay by her side through it all, no matter the cost.

Mary is an example of God’s faithfulness. When He says He’s going to do something, He does it- and all in His timing, all carefully designed for His glory and our good. God knew Mary would have moments of doubt and uncertainty. Just because she was chosen as the mother of Jesus does NOT mean she was without sin or human nature. She was just as ordinary as the rest of us. But she loved God fiercely and followed Him with her whole heart. And while we can skip ahead in the story and see what was going to happen next, Mary had to trust Him completely as the story was still unfolding before her.

She was never alone. God made sure of that. He had called her to something so much bigger, so much higher than she could have ever humanly thought possible- yet, she was not alone in His calling. He had brought Joseph into her story (which was also because of the lineage of Christ… Matthew 1:1-17), a simple carpenter from Nazareth, to support and care for her. Her cousin, Elizabeth, was also on her side as she was going to give birth to John the Baptist and had experienced the miraculous as well. Mary was surrounded by people who understood.

Trust that whatever you’re walking through right now, God is near. That you can praise Him for the plans He made for you long before you were even born, and His will is perfect. And when you feel alone in what He has called you to do, even though most people will not understand, He also brings the right people into your life who won’t question it…they will simply support you and stand with you through the doubts and uncertainty.

Just like Mary, we can’t skip ahead in the story to see how it all plays out. But, just like Mary, we can trust in God’s faithfulness, no matter what the situation. May we cling to that hope and assurance this Christmas season.