It happened while I was grocery shopping. I opened the foggy refrigerator door to get the milk, suddenly alone as the kids wandered over to stare longingly at the Little Debbie cakes. Just then a neatly groomed man on a Wal-Mart scooter spoke up beside me, “You are highly favored by God and blessed among women.” Stunned, I stammered some reply and was amused when he then asked me if I had seen a specific brand of garlic bread he was there to buy. I laughed about it as I left the store and teased my husband that our family might not be as ‘complete’ as we thought. However, his words, originally addressed to Mary by the angel Gabriel, stuck with me.
Bill Gaither has written a Christmas song often performed in Southern Gospel circles. It says, “Mary was the first one to carry the gospel and that news brought joy, sweet joy!” Yes, Mary had the amazing privilege of carrying the actual Son of God in her body for nine months. That is unparalleled by any of our experiences as mothers. But are we not blessed and highly favored as well? We have our own special privilege that is not to be overlooked or understated.
As Christian women, we also “carry the gospel” around with us! Our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit. We are alive in Christ- alive in the One with whom the Father is ‘well-pleased.’ What a Christmas gift we have received! We are “highly favored and blessed” among the women of this dark world, carrying the joy of the good news that changes lives and that can bring the spiritually dead new life in Christ. Let’s answer this blessing with the same attitude of submission and joy that Mary modeled for us: “Be it unto me according to thy word… My soul doth magnify the Lord!” May that news bring “joy, sweet joy” to your Christmas season this year!
- Charity Brown, writer for The Ladies’ Companion