Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Mary, the Mother of Jesus - A Christmas Message

Worshipped, summoned in prayer, and enshrined by millions, Mary, the Mother of Jesus may well have been the most famous of all women. Yet of her life, we know startlingly little. Except that hers was the womb that carried the Son of God.

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has this month been named 'The Most Powerful Woman in the World' by the National Geographic Society.

So powerful is she, that Mary has become the figure of a strong faction of Christians the world over. She has been 'seen' in many places ranging from the clouds to mugs of hot chocolate.

In Mormonism and growing up in the church, not much is or was said about Mary. Probably due to the dearth of scriptural records about her. She is pretty much swallowed up by the words and deeds of her divine son. That baby Jesus, who came forth from her womb became the Almighty Lord, the Mediator between God and mankind, the Redeemer of all women and men from the Fall.

So what is it that made Mary such a powerful lady?

In speaking of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, of Jesus' parentage and how he was conceived, I tread carefully, but don't hesitate to share my opinion which has been formed after many hours, days, weeks and months of earnest thought and study on the topic.

Mary is powerful because she was a virgin yet somehow not a virgin; pure and untainted yet somehow overshadowed and touched; relate-able yet entirely incomprehensible. This power all revolves around the conception of Jesus Christ.

We know that Mary was a virgin in that she had yet to enter into a sexual relationship with any man. She was planning on marrying Joseph at the time of perhaps the most hallowed event in human history - the conception of the Lord Jesus Christ in the womb of Mary.

Of that sacred event, we have the following record:

"Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

And the angel answered and said unto her, 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 1:34-35)

The angelic message was concluded with the phrase:

"For with God nothing shall be impossible." (Luke 1:37)

Mormon author James E. Talmage explained the power of Mary and the conception of Jesus this way:

"Mary's promised Son was to be 'The Only Begotten' of the Father in the flesh...the event was unprecedented...also it has never been paralleled...That Child to be born of Mary was begotten of...the Eternal Father, not in violation of natural law but in accordance with a higher manifestation thereof...In his nature would be combined the powers of Godhood with the capacity and possibilities of mortality; and this through the ordinary operation of the fundamental law of heredity, declared of God, demonstrated by science, and admitted by philosophy, that living beings shall propagate - after their kind. The Child Jesus was to inherit the physical, mental, and spiritual traits, tendencies, and powers that characterized His parents - one immortal and glorified - God, the other human - woman."

(Jesus the Christ, from Chapter 7)

What a thrilling statement! This is the passage that produced flurries of thoughts in my mind on the conception of the Saviour.

I do not here make any conclusions as my limited mind has not wrapped itself around this miraculous event of the Virgin Mary becoming the carrier in the womb of Jesus the Christ in partnership with the God of the heavens.

That's where being a virgin yet being pregnant doesn't quite add up to the finite mind.

However, since God is not mortal, Mary was able to retain her virgin status in the whole story of Jesus' conception and birth. Whether that conception was a result of mortal sexual relations between God and Mary through the familiar action of penile penetration, or by some other divine method of reproduction which we know not of (except Mary, which only further adds to her power), I dare not definitively say.

All we do know is that however that sacred event unfolded, it is destined to remain for some a sacred silence; for others a riveting mystery; and yet for a few a flagrant conspiracy.

Yet something happened between the God of the universe, and Mary the Mother of Jesus. We do not know if it was physical or spiritual, maybe both, maybe neither. But there was a union; the Child Jesus grew up with a half-mortal, half-immortal genetic structure, allowing him to carry out the anguish of his suffering in the garden, the inescapable pains of mortal death on the cross, and the miraculous feat of his resurrection.

Two mortal parents just wouldn't have done the job.

At Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Saviour Jesus Christ. Just 9 months earlier, the seeds that set His birth in motion were divinely planted within Mary the Mother of Jesus.

This is what makes Mary the most powerful woman in the world.

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