Yesterday’s post was, of course, about the shepherds. It seems to me that we have an idea that God chose Mary, that He chose Joseph, that He chose the shepherds because He saw something in them that made them worthy of the blessings that came their way. There may be something to that from God’s point of view. Maybe He knew how the shepherds would react to the visit from the angels. Maybe He knew Mary and Joseph would be responsible parents, that they would stand strong in the face of censure from friends and family, that they would persevere through danger and hardship. ‘Faithful in small things, charge over big things.’
But from our side of the equation…
If I start thinking God chose me because He saw something in me, that He chose me because of my talent or character or good looks (haha) I have started down the wrong path, a path that leads to pride and arrogance. I like to think that Mary was an ordinary teenager. She played that there rock and roll music too loud. She wouldn’t wash the dishes and you had to beg her to carry out the trash. Maybe the shepherds drank a little too much wine in their off hours. In other words they were just ordinary people. Regular folks. What they got from God was blessing and grace, not earned.
I think Mary recognized this when sang her song:
- My soul doth magnify the Lord.
- And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.
- Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid;
- for behold from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
- Because he that is mighty,
- hath done great things to me;
- and holy is his name.
- And his mercy is from generation unto generations,
- to them that fear him.
- He hath shewed might in his arm:
- he hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
- He hath put down the mighty from their seat,
- and hath exalted the humble.
- He hath filled the hungry with good things;
- and the rich he hath sent empty away.
- He hath received Israel his servant,
- being mindful of his mercy:
- As he spoke to our fathers,
- to Abraham and to his seed for ever.
Any talent or ability I have came from God. And it still belongs to Him.