If there's any woman of the Bible that needs no introduction, it's Mary. I mean, her role as the mother of Jesus has made her very well-known! So without further ado, let's get straight into what she can teach us about sharing our gifts with the world. If you prefer, you can listen to this devotional rather then reading it. feel free to download and share it too:
Although the UK has many Christmas traditions which are quite unique to her, my favourite is one that we share with many other countries that celebrate Christmas- the nativity play. For those who may be unfamiliar with this tradition, the nativity play is basically when the story of Jesus’ birth is acted out by children either in churches or at school (in the UK, it’s usually primary or elementary school aged children). It tends to cover:
• The announcement of Jesus’ birth to Mary, His mother (Luke 1:26-38)
• Mary and (her husband) Joseph’s travel to Bethlehem, and their plight looking for accommodation (Luke 2:1-7)
• The appearance of the angel Gabriel to the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20)
• King Herod’s evil plot and how he tried to deceive the three wise men (Matthew 2:1-12)
• Jesus’ actual birth and its relevance to the world (John 3:16-18)
My primary school was split into two sections when I went- “infants” (4-6 years olds) and “juniors” (7-11 years olds); so, I was fortunate enough to act in two nativities while at primary school. When I was in the infants I was cast as “inn keeper number 3,” the one that took pity on Mary and Joseph and let them sleep in the manger (and the only inn keeper with lines, I might add!). When I was in the juniors I was cast as the angel Gabriel, little cherub as I was *clears throat*.
Fast forward many years later and I now work in primary schools as a speech and language therapist, when I’m not writing. In my last school, I also spent 2-3 years heading the choir along with the school’s music teacher- which meant that I went from a little girl being auditioned for a part in the nativity play to auditioning little girls and boys myself! I love the work that goes into making these plays a success for several reasons. I adore:
- Working with the children to draw out their creative potential, especially the shy or special needs children who don’t always get a chance to shine.
- Giving the children who are normally labeled as “bad” or “naughty” a chance to present themselves in a positive light and be praised (for once!)
- Watching the children use their gifts to spread the gospel (especially because I live in London, which is very diverse in terms of people’s ethnicities and religious backgrounds, and so, for many- both acting and in the audience- this may be the only opportunity to plant that seed and, who knows? It may just take root in future)
To me, this is the very spirit of Christmas as it almost mirrors what God did with Mary all those years ago. For in giving her the gift of Jesus, He took an average little girl and gave her the opportunity to present herself in a new light by lifting the lid of her potential; endowing her with His power and giving her purpose. But, most of all, like our modern budding thespians do through these plays, God gave her something special to share with the rest of the world- an expression of His love.
Now what about you, lovely? Do you realise that you are also pregnant with purpose? You also have something to give and contribute to the world, just like Mary (and Jesus) did all those years ago. You are significant. Do not despise your gifts for none of us are ordinary. Also, don’t let Christmas be the only time that you share the gift of the gospel with others. Try to make an effort to do it on an everyday basis because, as with nativities, your life may be the only live action reflection of Christ that people will ever see. Want to know how you can do this?