In this series we will focus on characters from the Nativity and draw out character qualities we can model and implement into our daily lives.
Apart from Jesus, Mary is central to the story of Christmas. Not only does she play an important role but she exhibited great moral character. Take a few minutes to ponder the passage and consider what character qualities you find in her from the reading.
Passage: Luke 1:26-38
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel came to her and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you.” 29 But she was deeply troubled by this statement, wondering what kind of greeting this could be. 30 Then the angel told her:
Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
31 Now listen:
You will conceive and give birth to a son,
and you will call His name Jesus.
32 He will be great
and will be called the Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give Him
the throne of His father David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever,
and His kingdom will have no end.
34 Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”
35 The angel replied to her:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born
will be called the Son of God.
36 And consider your relative Elizabeth—even she has conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called childless. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
38 “I am the Lord’s slave,” said Mary. “May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel left her.
Character Quality #1: Moral Integrity
Mary was a single young girl pledged to be married. Many believe she would have been between the age of 12-14 years old when she was given this enormous task and privilege of bearing the son of God. She had been chosen and was greatly used of God in impacting all of humanity. During the time of Jesus and even today, woman can be slighted, taken advantage of, and maltreated within the home and workplace. Women have not had an easy road.
Our current society has often sexualized women, making them objects to obtain through lust. Young women today have much to overcome in their representation of themselves to men much less our society that values looks over character and appearance over depth. Mary is certainly a model for all young ladies and women alike. Moreover, everyone can learn a few lessons from Mary.
1) Mary was taking the proper channels to be married. She was engaged for a period of time.
In our day and age, it’s nothing for people to be involved in all kinds of improper relationships. From shacking up to multiple illicit relationships, our moral character leaves much to be desired! Mary and Joseph alike, demonstrate to us that it’s important to take the proper paths to developing interpersonal relationships with one another. Take your time in dating people. Don’t allow the relationship to diminish into something that is just “physical”. Honor the person you are with and be honorable within your relationship. Build trust with each other, which was a huge thing for Mary and Joseph to have after hearing such news! Their love and trust in God and each other allowed them to bear this burden together!
2) Mary was a virgin. She had some boundaries in her life.
Again, this is very tough to live out, especially when the word “virgin” has such a negative connotation. However, one of the facts that she was given such an honor was because she was a virgin! Don’t get me wrong, people who are not virgins can still be greatly used of God and God most certainly forgives sins of a sexual nature. Yet Mary stands tall among women and all Humanity as someone unashamed because she had kept herself pure. All of us have areas of our lives in which we struggle and the area of sex can most certainly be delicate to deal with to say the least. But one thing is for sure, someone who keeps themselves pure and clean sexually will have nothing to fear. It’s better to be ridiculed and live without fear than to yield one’s body and live in regret. Follow Mary’s lead and set boundaries. Remain a virgin until God sends the right person to you and you become married. You won’t regret it! Don’t be afraid or ashamed to be called a virgin…it’s a title not many people can wear and an attribute that many wish they could bear.
To wrap up this character quality think about these things:
How do you need to give your “dating” life to God?
In what ways have you been compromising your morals and values?
How does what you watch or listen to depict relationships between men and women? Does it reflect God’s view of how we should live and treat one another?
What boundaries do you need to establish to remain clean, pure and healthy in your relationships?
If God was going to choose you to bear His son to the world, what would you feel compelled to say? Would you take it as an honor, burden, or privilege?
In what ways can having a moral code or ethic set you apart from others? Would you be embarrassed to be called a virgin?