Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth.—Luke 1:26
When God selected Mary, He was looking for heart. God set out to find the precise woman who would give her heart to him, completely and wholly. He wanted a woman with whom he could entrust his perfect son. This was going to be no ordinary woman. Or was it?
Mary was not a woman of status and means. Her family was probably considered "blue-collar" by the societal and cultural standards of her time. In Luke 1:48, she is described as "humble" (NASB), indicating a lowly position. She did not come from a place of influence and power. It appears that she was simple, pure, and young. Not a typical portrait for the mother of a king.
Yet God began the Jesus journey with the selection of the finest woman of that time. Theologians and historians believe that Mary was a young woman around the age of fourteen or fifteen. Since she had recently become engaged to Joseph, a carpenter, it is thought that she had just come into an age and body that the culture would define as a woman. While we can accept her youthfulness, it would be her heritage with which people would struggle. Even during that era, Mary did not fit the image of the mother of a king. Her background and simplistic life did not qualify her for the role. She was a Galilean, from an area known for its despicable ways. (How dare we believe that anything good could come from Nazareth! See John 1:46.) Mary was the unexpected selection in a journey that no one ever quite understood. For you see, the world was looking for a king to come from earthly royalty. God wanted his son, the King of kings, to come from a humble woman so that the entire world could relate.
Religious and political figures expected a king to be born of powerful, prestigious, and wealthy lineage so he could rule with authority and history behind him. God wanted King Jesus to come from a place where heritage and affluence could not buy him his authority. God simply wanted his son to embody the characteristics of his own heart. He wanted the world to recognize that his son's value came from being God's son. Nothing more. Nothing less.
God also wanted to instill in Mary that her value came from being God's daughter. This lesson is similar with children, but not exactly. They need to move through the world knowing that they are deeply connected to their mother, where their identity is rooted in something familiar and comfortable. The one difference is, they also need to anchor their identity in God, and put Him first. A mother is the facilitator and keeper of that identity formation. Today's women struggle with the reality of their lives and their limitations. Too often they believe they are not good enough because they cannot provide all that the world says they need to give, including what they ought to give their children. Through Mary, God showed that what the world says is important isn't necessarily so; she was living proof that heart trumps heritage and substance rules over status.