God's greatest gift: 2. Mary – the well wrapped gift (Luke 1:26-56; 2:6-7)
There is an art to wrapping Christmas presents and I don’t have it! My wife does. What she can do with a sheet of paper, a ribbon and a pair of scissors never ceases to amaze me. I remember ‘earning’ a badge for wrapping books in the uniformed youth organisation I attended, but I suspect now that either there was some corruption in the system or that my leaders were men of great pity.
Mary is one of the most outstanding figures in Scripture. She is a model of prayer, praise, meditation and adoration. She is not to be venerated, but her example can certainly be emulated. The part of Mary in the incarnation is both passive and active. In one sense she simply had to accept what God had planned – her simple response was the heart of all true prayer, the words of God’s servant: “let it be to me according to your word”. She didn’t make the baby grow – what mother does? She was, in one sense, the wrapping of the present, the protective shell around the precious gift of God.
Yet in other ways Mary was active. It was she who supplied the nutrients that built His body in her womb. She who endured the agony as He entered the world. She who wrapped His frail body tightly in strips of cloth. She who fed Him when He cried. She who would later learn to step back as He turned the water into wine. She who would weep as He hung on a cross. She who rejoiced on the first Easter.
Mary wrapped Him well, but as she pondered the words of angels and the actions of shepherds, mentally she was unwrapping His significance. The best gifts aren’t revealed as soon as the paper falls away. They are discovered and rediscovered through initial examination and repeated use. So it is with Jesus. We begin to know Him when we first pray, “Lord let my life from now on be according to Your word”, and we keep on rediscovering Him through a lifetime of unwrapping.