Think through what it would be like to be Mary. Through obeying God and following him, she is now going to be made an outcast; even while carrying our Savior, she will undergo ridicule and hardship. How do you think you would respond if these circumstances were given to you? What is a time in your life when you had to take on shame or ridicule because of following Jesus?
Mary is surrendered to the set of circumstances that God has given to her, even if it means losing her future husband—the one thing she has in this world. The comfort and stability he would bring to her life is not more important to her than what God is doing. How might this apply to you? How can you, too, look past the short-term consequences of something in your life to how it might bring God glory?
When Mary walks in the door to see Elizabeth, she immediately receives confirmation and affirmation from Elizabeth instead of jealousy and strife. What does this reveal to us about community? How can you enter in to another’s life and meet them with encouragement and affirmation instead of tension or jealousy?
If your hands are wrapped around something or someone with a white-knuckled grip, this story challenges you to release your fingers and turn your hands over to God in surrender. Do you have the same kind of surrender as Mary? What or who are you having a hard time surrendering?
When the angel appears to Mary and tells her that she will have a son, he tells of Jesus, assuring that he will be our Savior, the Son of the most High, very great, given the throne of David, chosen to reign over Israel forever, and the King of a kingdom that will never end (Luke 1:31-33).
By being born of the Spirit and not from the line of Adam, Jesus is free of the sin nature that brings judgment and condemnation as a man. He is the only man in whom a sin nature does not dwell, making him the only man capable of paying the price for our freedom and salvation.
Mary’s betrothal would be the key for her prosperity, comfort, and stability in this world. The one thing she has is getting taken away, yet she embraces, welcomes, and surrenders to the set of circumstances that God gives her.
The Magnificat is a reflective celebration that comes from Mary’s soul.
God under-promises and over-delivers.
If you are not a Christian, reflect on this idea that the Christmas story is about God coming to embrace your guilt and your shame. In our culture, we have cleaned up Jesus so much that we don't recognize him. Read this passage again, considering how Jesus chose to come to this world, and meet him for who he truly is.