Holy Mary.

Luke 1:26-35 God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God.  You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 
 
It never ceases to bewilder me how so many Protestants overlook, dismiss, or are even disgusted by the inclusion of Mary in our Christian faith.
Why is this?

I realize that not every Protestant detests Mary.  Still, I find the fact that so many of us don’t think of her at all is just as painful.

I’m reminded back to my days of after-school Bible study, and our student leader, Randy.  He was a rather loud boy, whose intentions were usually of a good nature.  This day, however, a bunch of us walked in on his confrontation with a fellow Bible studier, who also happened to be Catholic.  Randy was discounting her beliefs, wildly declaring her a Mary worshiper.  With Randy leaving her with no room to speak, she burst into tears, instead.

Those of us watching sat there in confusion.  At the time, I had little to no idea the details of Catholicism, or that Mary was especially respected within the denomination.  Whatever Randy thought he knew must have stemmed not out of knowledge, or fellowship between between denominations, but was born out of assumptions and a lack of education.

By taking the time to apologize to our friend, Randy came to know that both his assumptions and his outburst were wrong.  Out of the confusion and hurt, however, came my first acknowledgment of who Mary really is.

Mary was chosen by God to carry our Lord and Savior in her womb.
No lottery or stroke of whimsy could ever determine such an amazing responsibility. The single fact that God chose her should be enough for us to respect and remember this woman.
Thought to be only a young teenage girl upon Gabriel’s visit, she did not say no to God, but embraced His will as her own.  Risking her future marriage, her reputation, her life.  Dedicating the rest of her life to bringing up and protecting this child who would become our Saving Grace.
Accompanying Jesus in his ministry, never doubting His true identity, when even Jesus’ own brothers declared him to be out of his mind (Mark 3:21). 
Jesus, in His last moments of life on Earth, adopting his beloved mother unto His trustworthy disciple, John.  (John 19:26-27).
She was a woman who followed God’s plan for her willingly.  No matter what.
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