The Christmas narrative unfolds with a divine announcement, reaching its zenith when Mary, a young and humble virgin, was chosen to bear the Savior. The angel Gabriel’s proclamation marked a momentous juncture in human history, requiring Mary to steward the ultimate miracle—the birth of Jesus Christ. In tandem with Joseph, her righteous betrothed, Mary embarked on a journey that would not only impact their lives but set in motion the transformative values that would shape Christianity for centuries to come.
Mary’s Stewardship of Surrender
Mary’s encounter with the angel Gabriel was a testament to her remarkable faith and readiness to steward the divine miracle entrusted to her. In her response, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38, ESV), Mary exhibited a profound stewardship of surrender. Her willingness to submit to God’s plan, despite the societal implications and personal challenges, showcased a rare depth of faith and trust in the Almighty.
Mary’s journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, culminating in the humble birth of Jesus in a stable, reflected her stewardship of surrender. It was an acknowledgment that she was not just bearing a child but participating in the fulfillment of God’s redemptive plan for humanity.
Mary’s unwavering faith and surrender became the cornerstone of Jesus’s value system, emphasizing the importance of humility, obedience, and trust in God’s providence.
Joseph’s Stewardship of Protection
Parallel to Mary’s journey, Joseph, a just and compassionate man, found himself tasked with stewarding the miracle of the Incarnation. Faced with the perplexing revelation of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph’s initial intention was to quietly divorce her. However, an angelic visitation in a dream changed the course of Joseph’s actions. He embraced his role as the earthly father of Jesus, marrying Mary and providing a protective environment for the Son of God.
Joseph’s stewardship of protection extended beyond the stable in Bethlehem. Fleeing to Egypt to escape King Herod’s massacre of infants, Joseph ensured the safety of the Holy Family. His commitment to safeguarding Jesus mirrored the protective nature of God’s love for His children. Joseph’s role as a guardian became an indelible part of Jesus’s value system, influencing his teachings on love, compassion, and the protective nature of God.
The Trickle-Down Effect
The profound impact of Mary and Joseph’s stewardship extends far beyond the nativity scene in Bethlehem, creating a lasting legacy that has shaped the very fabric of Christianity. Their unwavering obedience, humility, and trust in God laid the foundation for Jesus’s own values and principles, which continue to resonate in the hearts of believers today.
Humility and Obedience
Mary’s humble acceptance of her role and Joseph’s obedient response to the angelic message forged a legacy of humility and obedience in the life of Jesus. This foundational aspect of His character was evident throughout His ministry. In washing the feet of His disciples, associating with the marginalized, and ultimately submitting to the will of His Father in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus exemplified the values of humility and obedience that were instilled by His earthly parents.
Love and Compassion
The love and compassion that permeated Jesus’s earthly ministry can be traced back to the nurturing environment provided by Mary and Joseph. The stable in Bethlehem and the home in Nazareth were not just physical spaces but sanctuaries of love where familial bonds were cultivated. Jesus, having experienced this profound love, mirrored it in His teachings and actions.
His parables, healings, and interactions with people reflected the compassionate heart instilled by Mary and Joseph.
Trust in God’s Plan
Mary and Joseph’s unwavering trust in God’s plan, despite the societal challenges and personal struggles they faced, became an intrinsic part of Jesus’s character. This trust manifested in His resolute commitment to fulfilling His mission on Earth. The teachings of Jesus often emphasized the trust that believers should place in the heavenly Father. The Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus spoke about God’s provision and care, echoes the trust ingrained in Him from His upbringing.
Joseph’s protective stewardship and Mary’s sacrificial acceptance of her role set the stage for Jesus’s sacrificial living. His ultimate act of love on the cross, where He willingly gave His life for the redemption of humanity, echoed the values of sacrifice instilled by His earthly parents. The concept of sacrificial living became a central theme in Jesus’s teachings, urging His followers to love sacrificially and lay down their lives for others.
Empathy and Inclusivity
The empathy and inclusivity that characterized Jesus’s interactions with diverse individuals found its roots in the inclusive atmosphere created by Mary and Joseph. Their acceptance of Jesus as the divine gift extended beyond their immediate family to embrace all of humanity. This value resonates in Jesus’s ministry, where He welcomed and embraced people from all walks of life, breaking down societal barriers and exemplifying the universal love of God.
Forgiveness and Redemption
The forgiveness and redemption preached by Jesus find their origins in the forgiving and redemptive nature of Mary and Joseph’s stewardship. Mary’s acceptance of God’s plan and Joseph’s decision to protect and raise Jesus despite the societal norms foreshadow the themes of forgiveness and redemption that Jesus later expounded. The parables of the Prodigal Son and the Woman Caught in Adultery illustrate the transformative power of forgiveness and redemption embedded in the values passed down to Jesus.
The trust that guided Mary and Joseph through arduous journeys and unforeseen challenges beckons us to place our uncertainties in the hands of the unwavering and faithful God.
As we grapple with the demands of our time, the call to trust in divine providence reverberates, assuring us that the same God who orchestrated Bethlehem’s starlit night orchestrates the intricacies of our lives.
As the narrative of Mary and Joseph unfolds, it invites us to a sacred stewardship—a responsibility not just to gaze upon the past but to walk in the present with a resolute commitment to values. In the echoes of Bethlehem’s night, may we hear the call to steward the miracles in our lives with a surrender that transforms, a protection that guards, and a commitment to values that mirror the transformative love of Christ. Their legacy, woven into the very essence of Christmas, becomes an eternal invitation—a beckoning to shape our stories in alignment with the divine narrative, ensuring that the transformative love they embodied continues to radiate through the lives of believers, transcending time and echoing through eternity.