As a kid I loved this time of year for all the reasons most children do. My romance with Christmas followed me all the way into my teen years as well.
However, things took on a whole new perspective in December of 1972. On the 14th of that month in that year the wind of the Holy Spirit blew powerfully into my life. I was born again. Jesus saved me and has faithfully kept me now these forty-one years. I find the season all the more gratifying since with it comes my spiritual birthday and the anniversary of the gift of gifts, my regeneration and union with Christ. Thanks be to God.
I say without equivocation that this makes me and any other blood-bought child of God more blessed than the blessed virgin Mary. Don’t get me wrong. Her privilege in bearing the Son of God put her in a distinguished, one-of-kind category. The angel greeted her with tiding of her station with the words “Hail, favored one!” (Luke 1:28). Her cousin Elizabeth greeted her later in that same chapter with the words “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” (Luke 1:42). Indeed. Who can even begin to imagine what it must have been like to travel Mary’s journey as the mother of Jesus?
That said, the fact remains, Jesus Himself made one thing very clear about the relative privilege between her station and that of anyone like me who belongs to Him by faith. I refer to Luke 11:27-28.
As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
I don’t think Jesus meant to dismiss outright the extraordinary responsibility embraced by His earthly mother. Rather He sought to impress upon His followers the enormity of blessing that comes with receiving God’s grace in salvation. No privilege remotely compares in this life with God’s tuning your heart to sing His grace and tendering your will to obey the Scriptures.
Jonathan Edwards put it this way:
Great was the privilege which God bestowed on the blessed virgin Mary, in granting that of her should be born the Son of God; that a person who was infinitely more honorable than the angels, who was the Creator and King of heaven and earth and the great Savior of the world, should be conceived in her womb, born of her, and nursed at her breast, was a far greater privilege than to be the mother of the child of the greatest earthly prince that ever existed. But yet, surely that was not so great a privilege as it was to have the grace of God in the heart, to have Christ, as it were, born in the soul, as Christ himself does expressly teach us.
From the depths of my heart this December 14, 2013, I rejoice by His grace to have God in my heart, Christ as my King, born in my soul, and pray humbly for that same grace to keep me for another year and for as long as I shall live.