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Pastoral Exhortation

A Perfect Child and His Mother

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One day, in the tiny village of Bethlehem, a young woman named Mary gave birth to her firstborn son. Mary knew that her son was different from all other children born into this world. How did she know it? It was told to her by an angel from heaven, namely, Gabriel. He told Mary about her child that “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1:32-33). The angel also told her that “the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

Every young mother thinks of her baby as beautiful and special. Mary must have thought so too. She was right! But more than that, her baby was the only perfect child ever born; and the most unusual baby—the only begotten Son of the Most High God! Earlier on, Mary had “pondered in her heart” the words of the angel Gabriel when he had announced the forthcoming birth of Jesus, saying that her son would be called “the Son of the Highest, the Son of God”.

Mary must have found it daunting as she contemplates the nurture of a sinless, perfect child. A normal woman, who has been affected by sin, like every other woman, is now faced with the unusual task of bringing up a child with no sin. It is a pleasurable task to fulfil, when the nature of the child is in view. On the other hand, it is an awesome task, when her imperfections are weighed against the perfection of the child. Nonetheless, she yielded to the will of God, saying, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

Sometimes, the Lord calls us to bear burdens or perform tasks, which appear to be too big for us. But we must not shun His calling. Mary is a fine example of the fact that yielding to God is the best response to the challenges He brings to us. For in doing so, we open our lives to extraordinary experiences of His wonderful grace, wisdom and strength in fulfilling the task He has given us.

Now, after the holy child was born, she received further confirmation of her child’s uniqueness through the testimony of the shepherds, who were told by the angel that the child is “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). The implications of all these facts about her child must have been too much for her human mind to grasp. So, according to Luke 2:19, she “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”

Every heart that truly cherishes the meaning and purpose of the birth of Jesus can be filled with a joy similar to that which Mary had experienced when she cradled the baby Jesus in her arms and thought about His greatness and His mercy. Let us fill our hearts with the thoughts of His greatness, love, mercy, power, promises, etc. “One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4).