Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. It was a once in a lifetime event, something for which he became world famous and has long been remembered. Few of us are destined for such fame. We are not going to be known all over the world like Neil Armstrong. We will lead routine lives of faithfulness in our own neighborhoods. A thousand years from now, in this world, we will only be another name on a family genealogical record, like all those people listed in the “begats” in Genesis.
Mary was different. The more Mary thought about the child within her and the message she heard from Gabriel, the more amazed she became that she was chosen for this task. But in her amazement she did not become proud.
Instead Mary felt…humbled.
Shortly after Joseph told her he would not divorce her, she left town to visit her older relative Elizabeth in Judea. The first chapter of Luke’s gospel tells us that as Mary walked into the room, the child within Elizabeth’s womb jumped. His mother looked at this young girl and said, “You are blessed by God above all other women and your child is blessed. What an honor this is, that the mother of my Lord should enter my home!”
In a society that respected age and gave honor to older people, people would have expected Mary to revere her elderly hostess, not the other way around. Instead, Mary accepts the truth of Elizabeth’s tribute and reacts with humility. She replies in awe, “How I rejoice in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation will call me blessed.”
Today, two thousand years later, Mary is still respected and honored as the mother of our Lord. Not one other person in all of time has ever experienced the honor that Mary felt as she stood there in front of her cousin Elizabeth. Eleven other men have also walked on the moon, so Neil Armstrong’s experience was did not remain unique for long, but no one else has ever carried the Son of God in a womb.
You and I might never face the temptations that international fame brings, but each of us has struggled with pride. Today, take a look at your own life. Take stock of your successes, small or large, and consider bringing them in humility as a tribute to God’s throne.