A Selfless Heart

As this Christmas season begins our minds are busy. We're deciding what to buy our family and friends for Christmas, trying to get through the next couple weeks of school because we desperately need a break, and cramming our social events into one short, hectic month.

During this time it's easy for us to get wrapped up in ourselves. But before we get too far into this month I want to remind us all, myself included, of a lesson we can learn from the woman who experienced Christmas before all the hustle and bustle was added to it. I'm sure you've all guessed who I'm referring to... Mary the mother of Jesus.

Other than Jesus, who gave up the glory of heaven to live among sinners, Mary is one of the most selfless people in the Christmas story. God selected her for the incredible task of raising Jesus on this earth. Because the Bible doesn't talk much about the years of Jesus as a child, we don't know much about that time. We don't see the sleepless nights, the diaper changes, the kissed boo-boos, the meals cooked, or the clothes mended, like any mother would experience. Most of the time we forget about the daily sacrifices Mary made to be the mother of Jesus. From the time the angel said she would bear a son, I'm sure Mary knew the task that lay before her would not be easy. She was betrothed at this time, yet I'm sure she realized the marriage may not take place after her fiance learned the news. It almost didn't, for we know from the Bible that Joseph almost called it off.  We've heard the story so many times that it's no longer surprising to us that Mary willingly agreed to the Lord's will. Mary's response to the angel was this: "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38). Considering the sacrifices she made, it should be surprising to us. In a me-centered world, a heart like Mary's is hard to find. We can apply her story of selflessness to our own lives. God didn't just call Mary to live a life of sacrifice...He calls you and me too.

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
— Romans 12:1

This task seems daunting, like Mary's must have seemed to her. God did not leave her without encouragement though, and He doesn't leave us without it either. From the beginning, God assured Mary that He was with her. In Isaiah, God assures us the same thing:

You are My servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off’;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
— Isaiah 41:9-10

God is with us. God will help us. That's all the assurance we need. The question is, will we choose a willing and selfless heart like Mary?