I don’t want to brag or anything, but I’ve played the role of Mary at least 637 times in a variety of Christmas productions. I guess I’ve just always been gifted with the ability to sit in silence and gaze at a swaddled baby doll while “Mary Did You Know?” is belted out by a choir.
So I’m pretty familiar with the Christmas story. I’m willing to bet you are, too. But what if we stripped away the projected images of a smiley, postpartum Mary who looks NOTHING like a woman who just gave birth, and instead tried viewing her situation through the eyes of today’s culture?
Let’s look at her the way her own world saw her: as an unmarried woman with an unplanned pregnancy.
Faced with a Choice
Place yourselves in the shoes of Mary:
You’ve just found out you’re pregnant. You’re engaged to be married. Your fiancé is not the father. You know the truth, that you’ve never been with a man. You’ve been visited by an angel who says you’ve conceived supernaturally, and this child you carry won’t be just any child. This little boy will be the Savior of the whole world.
You’ve got to break the news to your fiancé and your family. You live in a time when women can be stoned to death for unfaithfulness. You could be disowned by your family, a complete outcast. And your story, although true, sounds more like a desperate attempt from a crazed mind to avoid responsibility and punishment.
Any plans you had for your future just changed dramatically.
Let’s be real. Most of Mary’s scenario (minus the whole “visited by an angel and supernaturally conceiving” thing) is not so different from the scenarios of young moms-to-be today. This baby was going to alter her lifestyle drastically. And not just in a “this is inconveniencing me” kind of way, but in an “I could be killed for this” kind of way.
Mary had more reasons to abort than most women who choose abortion today. After all, the majority of abortions that take place are not because the mother’s life is threatened, but because the unborn life presents some kind of inconvenience or fear of the future.
A Choice that Changed the World
I think we have to be careful of posing hypotheticals such as “what if Mary had chosen to abort.” The reality is, God in his sovereignty planned for Mary to be the conduit for bringing the long-awaited Savior into the world. So to say that the salvation of humanity hinged on Mary’s decision would be, I believe, incorrect.
But I do believe it speaks volumes about God that he chose to use an unplanned pregnancy (at least, unplanned to Mary) to fulfill his promise to restore mankind to himself. Think about it—unwed mothers are not celebrated in the same way that married mothers are, especially by the church.
God himself was coming to rescue his people from their sins. What possible reason would God have for entering the womb of a teenager for nine months only to be born in a dirty stable to a mom and adoptive dad who likely had no idea what they were doing?
Every Life Matters
The biblical narrative is sprinkled with accounts of God using murderers, liars, the disabled, adulterers, prostitutes, tax collectors, children, the elderly, and so many others who are often labeled as “weak” or “lowly” or “despised” by the world (1 Corinthians 1:27-28). He used all these people to accomplish his purposes and to make his name great.
[click_to_tweet tweet=”How incredible is it that God chose an unwed mother (someone the world would label “despised”) to carry an unborn child (what the world labels “weak” and “lowly”) in order to reconcile mankind to himself?” quote=”How incredible is it that God chose an unwed mother (someone the world would label “despised”) to carry an unborn child (what the world labels “weak” and “lowly”) in order to reconcile mankind to himself?”]
So how incredible is it that God chose an unwed mother (someone the world would label “despised”) to carry an unborn child (what the world labels “weak” and “lowly”) in order to reconcile mankind to himself?
The fact that the God of the universe would choose such a humble method of saving the world tells me that unborn lives matter. That he would wrap his Son within the safety of a young woman’s womb tells me that Mary mattered, regardless of what society might have said about her.
What Every Mother-to-Be Needs
I’ve heard the Christmas story many times, but the details of the story never impacted me so greatly until I became immersed in the work of a pregnancy center. Seeing the faces and hearing the stories of women who are scared and unsure if their pregnancy carries any meaning or purpose has shown me that Mary was a real person in a real crisis.
And she needed more than just a maternity housing referral and a few baby items.
She needed the hope of unconditional love and support and the reminder that what she carried was precious and of immeasurable worth and planned out by God himself.
And isn’t that what all mothers-to-be need?
If the Author of Life values young mothers, the unborn, and life at all other stages, then shouldn’t we, too?
[click_to_tweet tweet=”If the Author of Life values young mothers, the unborn, and life at all other stages, then shouldn’t we, too?” quote=”If the Author of Life values young mothers, the unborn, and life at all other stages, then shouldn’t we, too?”]
As We Celebrate
As you prepare to celebrate Christmas, our hope is that you’ll take time to go back to that very first Christmas and empathize with Mary as her life changed forever. And we hope you’ll remember that there are many new mothers just like her who need support, encouragement, and the reminder that what they carry is of great worth and planned out by God himself.
Mary Holloman is the Communications Coordinator at the Care Center. You can follow more of her work at maryholloman.com and follow her on Instagram at @marytholloman.