For many reasons, Mary has a prominent place in the Christmas story. Luke 1 and 2 record that she receives a personal visit from the angel Gabriel, her prayer of wonder at bearing the Son of God, and her journey to Bethlehem to deliver Jesus in an animal stable. Luke wraps up his long comments about Christ’s birth with, “And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:51b, 52). She marvels that God “has looked on the humble estate of his servant” and that “all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48). She was blessed indeed.
If God did so many great things for Mary, is it possible that others could be even more blessed? Yes, they can! Luke 11:27-28, tells us that, as Jesus was speaking, “a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But He said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!’” The woman who made this comment was undoubtedly impressed with Jesus and understood that his mother was a very blessed woman. Her reasoning was correct; Mary was special. Likewise, Jesus loved and honored his mother (John 19:25-27) and would encourage others to do the same. However, the point he is making is that people are more impressed with Mary than they ought to be. She is unique, but all true followers of Jesus Christ can experience God’s blessing in even greater measure than Mary did, if only they obey and submit to the Word of God.
Virtually everybody desires happiness and blessing, yet they usually pursue them in the wrong way. In our society, people seek happiness through money, possessions, relationships, and many other non-spiritual pursuits. Jesus says that joy and blessing come through obeying and submitting to the Word of God. There is no way that you will obey the Bible if you do not know it, so we must spend our time learning what the Bible says. To submit to the Word of God we need to give careful attention to putting God’s words into practice in our daily lives. The American Puritan, Jonathan Edwards, said, “‘Tis more blessed to have Christ in the heart than in the womb. ‘Tis more blessed to have Christ in the arms of faith and love than in the arms or at the breast as the Virgin Mary had.” (Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus, Nancy Guthrie, p. 59)