Mary, Jesus’ mother, had a great background. She was from the royal tribe of Judah, which makes us realize again the impact of Tamar’s actions. And Mary, like Tamar, was another woman who put her reputation on the line. She said to the angel, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38). Mary agreed to be pregnant and unmarried which was totally unacceptable in her culture.

The significance of this didn’t really strike me until a few years ago when I went to the Christmas pageant at my local church. The pageant portrayed Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. One song in particular acted out the snide remarks that would have been made to Mary and the way she was probably ostracized by her friends. Other parents may not have wanted Mary’s supposedly bad example rubbing off on their own daughters.

The angel had told Mary, she had found favor with God and Mary’s response is to sing a song of praise to him. And yet favor meant she had to live with criticism and misunderstanding from those closest to her. Perhaps from people she had known all her life.

Mary had the amazing privilege of nurturing and teaching God’s own Son, particularly as it seems Joseph died while Jesus was still young. Mary was also the mother of James and Jude who authored books of the Bible. We don’t often think about the huge influence Mary had on the New Testament writings. Not only was she the mother of Jesus, James and Jude but it seems apparent from reading Luke’s gospel that he obtained much material from Mary.

Mary teaches us the importance of our influence, and the impact we can have on others.