Gentle Mary Laid Her Child

Gentle Mary laid her child lowly in a manger;
He is still the undefiled, but no more a stranger:
Son of god, of humble birth, beautiful the story;
Praise his name in all the earth, hail the King of Glory!

My memory of Christmas morning 30 years ago is still so vivid. Christmas was on Sunday that year. We had received that always wished for, white Christmas, and the morning was radiant. At church, we sang carols and heard the story of Christ’s birth once again.

However, this year I heard the familiar story in a new way. I was 4 months pregnant with our son Daniel, and had just begun to feel gentle kicks and nudges from the little life I was carrying. I remember feeling a kinship with Mary. What had that day been like for her so many years ago? Would I have been that obedient? That brave?

The carol “Gentle Mary Laid Her Child” tells us something important about Mary’s nature. Her quiet obedience to God despite the uncertainty. There was no plan. No bag packed for the hospital. No Peter Rabbit bedding in a crib, but instead a straw lined feeding trough where her newborn would spend his first night.

She would have no visits from family and loved ones. Animals and shepherds would greet her new son. She knew nothing of the future and the heartbreak she would endure, nor the impact this precious child would have on humankind. But then, none of us know the future. Mary was an example of how we all should live out our faith. Gentle, but fearless. Trusting in God’s plan for us despite our circumstances.

Lord, let me always respond to your call with the same gentle obedience Mary exhibited.

— Rosemary Kellam

Question of the Day
How might God be calling you to be obedient this Advent season?