The Greatest Story – Part 3: Faithfulness

Mary looked down into Jesus’ sleeping face and smiled. She was so grateful to have this moment of relative quiet to sit and enjoy her precious child. As she laid back and rested she let her mind wander. Mary’s face smiled softly as she recalled the moment she told her dear cousin Elizabeth the news. Mary had known that her cousin would understand the marvellous mysteries of God seeing as she had conceived a child after she had given up all hope. Mary laughed quietly as she recalled Elizabeth’s greeting, it had been unlike anything Mary had ever experienced before. Elizabeth had been truly glowing in her pregnant state and Mary had noticed that the pregnancy had also given Elizabeth a new vigour and enthusiasm for life. Elizabeth had declared that her own baby lept in her womb at seeing Mary’s approach and had boldly declared Mary blessed for her absolute trust in God’s promises. Mary recalled the song of praise that had burst out of her heart at Elizabeth’s greeting and softly sung it to her sleeping child:

Oh how my soul magnifies and exalts the Lord!

Oh how my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.

Oh how He has looked upon me with loving care, He did not care that I was so lowly or ill-prepared instead He has used me to bring life and love.

The generations to come will recall how blessed, happy and favoured by God I am, not because of any great statute in man’s eyes but because of God’s great grace.

Oh how I praise God for He who is mighty has done great things for me.

Oh how holy is God’s name, so worthy of all our praise.

Oh how mercy flows from one generation to the next for those who stand with awe and reverence before the Lord.

Oh how powerful His arm is, He quickly scatters the proud; He tears down unrighteous rulers from their thrones; and exult those with humble hearts.

Oh how He fills the hungry with good things.

Oh how faithful He is and He remembers His great promise to Abraham, YES faithfulness is my God’s nature.

How blessed will be those who trust in Him, how life-giving His reign will be.

(inspired by Luke 1:46-56 Amplified)

As Mary allowed the song to ring out in the small stable she was reminded of God’s faithfulness towards Abraham. His story was one that was often told because Abraham and Sarah’s story was a truly inspiring one. Mary smiled as she recalled the story of Isaac, the promised child who eventually was gifted when Abraham was around 100 years old and Sarah 90. As Mary reflected upon that divine miracle she was again reminded of her dear cousin Elizabeth who had a similar miracle occur, although she hadn’t been quite that old. Mary and Elizabeth had reflected on the similarities many times during her 3 month visit. Mary had raced to be with Elizabeth upon the news of her pregnancy and Mary had found great comfort as she had struggled with the news that she would become a mother in such an unusual way.

As Mary laid down to nap with her resting child she recalled the precious time that she had spent with Elizabeth. She had treasured the instruction and encouragement that Elizabeth had instilled in her and missed her terribly. Mary desperately longed to see her right now and allowed Elizabeth’s sweet face to lull her into a deep sleep. Mary awoke to the sound of rustling nearby and she was surprised to see a young boy sitting near her with a look of utter adoration upon his face. Mary wondered who he was and smiled at him as she gently cradled Jesus. The boy crept closer and gazed at her sleeping child. Mary smiled again and offered to hand Jesus to the boy but the young boy shook his head and just reached out a hand to gently touch Jesus instead. Mary noticed that the boy had a drum sitting next to him and watched smiling as he grabbed it and gently started playing. As Mary laid back in the straw Jesus kicked his arms and legs with great excitement, Mary laughed and the boy looked at her with tears streaming down his face.

‘Come they told me, a new born King to see.

Our finest gifts we bring to lay before the King.

So to honor Him when we come.

Little baby I am a poor boy too, I have no gift to bring that’s fit to give the King.

Shall I play for you on my drum?

Mary nodded, the ox and lamb kept time.

I played my drum for Him, I played my best for Him.

Then He smiled at me, me and my drum.’

After a few more moments his sweet song ended and he scurried away into the night. Mary laid back and treasured the little boy’s song in her heart, it seemed like such a fitting gift and one that she knew had the angels in heaven rejoicing over. Mary was reminded of King David and his ability to create such wonderful songs, as Mary thought back through the many to choose from she softly sung:

‘The Father says to His beloved Son: ‘Sit with Me at My right hand while I subdue every enemy. They will bow low before You and I make them a footstool for Your feet.

Come my beloved Son take the sceptre of strength and rule in Zion where Your Kingdom will have no end. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!

Oh my precious Son Your people will lovingly offer themselves to You, ready and willing to battle with You in the day of Your power. You will dwell in holiness from the womb until the very end. Forever You will be a priest of the highest order, One of great righteousness. I will be at Your right hand ready to crush the kings that rise against You.

My beloved Son execute judgement among the nations and shatter the strongholds of ruling powers. My Son drink from the flowing brook and be refreshed by My love. Know that in the end You will stand victorious!’ (Inspired by Psalm 110)

Mary lay back in the straw exhausted from her song but feeling refreshed in her spirit. She wondered how it could be possible for her precious son to help fulfil God’s promise to Abraham. Was Jesus to be like the other kings who take on hundreds of wives? Mary shuddered at the thought and sighed. Her weary brain was simply too tired to try and make sense out of any of this, as she laid back down she allowed the promise between God and Abraham to lull her back to sleep:

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; Walk [habitually] before Me [with integrity, knowing that you are always in My presence], and be blameless and complete [in obedience to Me]. I will establish My covenant (everlasting promise) between Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly [through your descendants].’ Then Abram fell on his face [in worship], and God spoke with him, saying, ‘As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, And [as a result] you shall be the father of many nations. No longer shall your name be Abram (exalted father), But your name shall be Abraham (father of a multitude); For I will make you the father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your descendants after you’” Genesis 17:1-7 Amplified

Lauren Daigle – ‘Little Drummer Boy’- YouTube Lyric Video

Little Drummer Boy lyrics

Notes:

According to The Passion Translation Psalm 110 is related to Jesus Christ and is quoted more often than any other Old Testament passage. There is an article that looks at this in great depth by 500 Questions.

I also studied “Great People Of The Bible And How They Lived” The Reader’s Digest Association Inc. Printed in 1974 by John Sands Pty Ltd Halstead Press Division. Sydney, Australia.

The Greatest Story – Part 2: Immanuel

Mary’s exhausted body finally succumb to sleep but after only a few short hours she awoke with her heart racing. It took her a moment to remember where she was and as she tried to roll over a soft moan tumbled from her lips as her weary achy body made known its protest. Mary took a few depth breaths to calm her racing heart as she felt her sleeping baby next to her, she pushed herself up into one elbow and tried to stare at his beautiful face in the dim light. Jesus lay in a very unusual crib, a feeding trough, but he didn’t seem to mind as he slept soundly. Mary’s ear picked up strange voices mixed with Joseph’s voice and wondered what was going on. As if he had read her mind Joseph crept quietly to her side to check if she was awake “are you ok?”, Mary tried to sit up and Joseph rushed to assist her as she let out another moan of pain, Joseph’s face filled with concern “I’m so sorry that you’re stuck here in this uncomfortable place”, Mary caught her breath and replied: “it’s ok Joseph, you tried everything, at least we are warm and safe”. Joseph smiled and stroked Mary’s face “you’re really so special”, Mary smiled back at him “you’re pretty amazing yourself”. Their moment was interrupted by Jesus stirring and Joseph gently picked him up “I think someone else wants your attention also”. Mary smiled and reached out for her son. “I’ll grab you some food and then we have some unusual visitors that insist on seeing you and our son”, Mary looked at Joseph with curiosity but he was gone before she could ask for more detail. A few moments later Merry, the homeowner’s wife, came to check on Mary with some food, fresh water and more cloth for Jesus “did you manage some sleep”, Mary sighed “yes thank you and thank you again so much for your assistance I was really quite scared”. Merry smiled “I’m so pleased I could help. I’m sorry that this is the only space we have free at the moment.”. Mary smiled and replied: “I appreciate having somewhere warm and safe, thank you for your kindness.” The two women sat in silence as Mary ate and fed Jesus. Once Jesus had finished Merry helped Mary to change him into fresh swaddling and she rocked him as Mary laid back sipping her water. “I’m sorry that you can’t rest longer but as Joseph mentioned we have some very keen people who are insisting on seeing you and Jesus, is that ok?” Mary again was extremely curious but just smiled and nodded. Merry handed Jesus back to Mary and left to find Joseph. A few moments later Joseph returned with Rufus, the homeowner, and a group of men. The first man laid down a staff as he knelt next to Mary and she recognized it as a shepherd’s hook. Mary smiled and offered Jesus to the man but he just knelt with a look of awe upon his face. One by one the shepherds gathered around Mary and Jesus kneeling with strange looks on their faces. Finally one of them spoke “blessed Mary we thank you for allowing us to visit. We have quite an unusual tale to tell.” Mary’s eyebrows shot up and she noticed Joseph winking at her over their heads, as she nodded the shepherd continued: “we were out in the fields not too far away and it was just like any other night except one particular star seemed extraordinarily bright.” The man’s face lit up as he continued “then the most amazing thing happened an angel appeared and the brightness of the Lord God shone all around us. We were terribly afraid but the angel told us not to fear because he was bringing good news of great joy. He told us that we would find a newborn baby right here in Bethlehem, wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger. We of course wondered just what was so special about a new baby and it was as if the angel understood our thoughts because he explained that this baby is the One we have been waiting for, he is the Messiah!”
Mary’s eyes filled with tears at the shepherd’s words. Then all of them began to speak at once about how a choir of angels had filled the sky and one shepherd sung out the song he had heard:
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV)
The first shepherd managed to get the others to quieten down so that he could explain “when the choir of angels left us we packed up and rushed straight here. It was easy to find you as the bright star led us here!”. The crowd that had followed the shepherds listened with amazement and pressed closer to see the baby that they spoke about. Mary hugged Jesus tightly to her chest and smiled as she allowed their words to sink deeply into her heart.

As the shepherds and the crowd disbursed Mary lay back in the straw to unpack all that they had told her, eventually her exhausted eyes closed and she dreamt about the choir of angels. She awoke to another crowd of visitors, at the sight of the distinguished looking men Mary felt unprepared and dishevelled. The men approached and knelt beside Jesus with a look of absolute wonder in their eyes. As Mary sat up straighter one of the men explained how they had been studying and searching. Mary gasped as one man reminded her of Balaam’s prophecy that her family had often recited:
“I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.” (Numbers 24:17 NKJV)
Another man quickly explained that they had been closely watching the skies over Bethlehem because of Micah’s prophecy:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.” (Micah 5:2 NKJV)
They explained how they had been watching the skies year after year and had seen the dramatic changes. They had enquired with King Herod about the new born king but he had seemed shocked and disturbed by their news. Joseph gave Mary a concerned look as they both felt uneasy at the mention of King Herod.
As the men explained how the star had appeared and moved to where Jesus lay a great excitement bubbled forth, “today we meet a great King and we have prepared gifts for him”. Each man brought forth a small chest and presented them to Mary, with shaking hands she opened them one by one to find gold, frankincense and myrrh. Tears of gratitude rolled down her face and she thanked them for their kind words and generous gifts. The men visited with Mary, Joseph and Jesus for a little while discussing in great detail their journey and observations and then rested nearby.
The next morning they bid farewell to Joseph as Mary and Jesus slept and explained that they would not return the way they had come because they had all had dreams that warned them to not return via King Herod. As Joseph thanked them again he wondered if Mary was strong enough to leave also because the Magi’s words had increased the unsettled feeling in Joseph’s heart.

“All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).” Isaiah 7:14 (NLT)

Picture – Westminister Church PCA

Read the visit of the Wise Men in Matthew 2:1-12