A numbers of years ago, I saw the movie The Nativity. Once again, the spectacular story of how “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son” (John 3:16) deeply moved me. I was especially struck by the ordinariness of the girl who played the part of Mary. Afterwards, I began to think: What if I had been one of Mary’s contemporaries? Would I have noticed that she was special to God?
If this girl had passed you on the street, nothing about her would have caused you to take a second look. She was just another ordinary teenager living an ordinary life and walking through an ordinary world. She came from an ordinary home with ordinary parents. Look her up in your high school yearbook and you’d see only her name without anything special written beneath. She hadn’t belonged to any club or held any office. She was never chosen as homecoming queen nor had she won any beauty contests. She wasn’t the editor of the school paper or the captain of the girls’ basketball team. In fact, she didn’t try out for any of the teams. She didn’t hurt your eyes to look at, but she didn’t turn heads, either. Unless you had somehow gone out of your way to meet her, you’d remember her as just another girl. You’d seen her around, but you couldn’t quite place her name. She was just an ordinary girl.
She was also just an ordinary member of her youth group. Other students were known as “on fire for God,” “evangelistic” or “Little Miss Missionary.” She was simply . . . there. She never sang a solo and was never asked to take a lead in a church-wide drama. Her role was always in the background as one of the shepherds, heavenly host or townspeople—nothing very important. The important parts were saved for the more talented, prominent children. The most anyone could say about this girl was that she was consistent. She was there every time the church doors opened. She was just an ordinary girl.
She seemed ordinary, but the things no one could see made her special. No one knew the flame that ignited inside her each time she heard the Word of God. No one realized that she lapped up each syllable of the holy text as a drop of living water that quenched her parched soul. The more she drank from God’s eternal well, the more she thirsted. And somewhere deep inside burned a desire to please her Creator more than anything or anyone else. At night, she lay in her bed and wrote Him love letters. She whispered the poetry of praise in His ear. She may have stood quietly in the background while others sang, but her heart soared alongside the angels.
This ordinary girl possessed several things that the world did not count worthy: a pure heart, compassion, faith and a longing for the eternal. Under her picture in God’s yearbook, these invisible qualities are written. These precious notations were the things only He could see or know. Just an ordinary girl . . . she wasn’t.
Since God himself had waited for her from eternity past, He always saw her as special. After all, He couldn’t trust the Messiah to just anyone. He found no queens or kings, rulers, powers or principalities worthy to raise His Son. As His eyes went to and fro throughout the Earth, they rested on this simple girl with a childlike faith. Her name was Mary. She was so special that God sent an angel to announce, “Do not be afraid, Mary. You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus” (Luke 1:30-31).
The good news is that God still uses the ordinary to do extraordinary things. He used an ordinary man with a dislike for public speaking to save Israel from 400 years of slavery in Egypt. He called an ordinary boy guarding the sheep to become king. He used an ordinary Jewish girl from an ordinary home to save the nation of Israel from destruction. He used an ordinary fisherman to preach the first sermon under the power of the Holy Spirit and usher in the church age. He used an ordinary boy with a few loaves of bread and fish to feed the multitude. And this Christmas season, I am thankful that God still uses the ordinary to astound the world.
When God decided to invade the Earth and infuse Himself in humanity, He did it through. . . just an ordinary girl. A Christmas girl.
Walker Moore is president of AweStar Ministries in Tulsa, P.O. Box 470265, Tulsa 74147, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 800/AWESTAR (293-7827.