Shame on Mary

by DanWolgemuth on December 21, 2018

Two years ago I ventured down a reflective pathway as I thought about the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus…

Before the miracles, gossip.
Before the cross, whispers.
Before an empty tomb, rumors.

Before the swaddling clothes, a pregnant, unmarried teenager.

Before glorious praise, scandal.

Before Magi worship, neighborhood humiliation.

Before confidence, doubt.

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.” Gabriel

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Elizabeth

After the call of God and the blessing of a relative… controversy.

The teenaged fiancé of Joseph… pregnant.

Nazareth was a buzz.

“Joseph hadn’t abandoned her… so maybe the baby was his?”

“How could she?”

“What were they thinking?”

Judgment and condemnation disguised as innocent questions.

When Gabriel conveyed the message from God, he asked Mary to carry more than a baby. First she carried the implied shame. First she carried the dashed plans of a blushing bride.

Time has polished the edges off the burden Mary and Joseph carried. Make no mistake, there were plenty of second glances cast their way.

The gift of God was the fuel for gossip. Mary. Pregnant.

Called “blessed” today; but called something very different in her neighborhood.

Mary. Heroic in her resolve.

Joseph. Heroic in his embrace.

The message of Christmas is scandalous. It’s controversial.

The Creator God confined to a womb.

Perfection surrounded by words of condemnation.

The rush to judgment sped past the prophetic promise…
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14 ESV)

Humility born of humility.

The impossible had a pulse.

Salvation had a name.

Hope had an address.

But not without ridicule.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3 ESV)

Starting in the womb, culminating on the cross.

Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden. (Matthew 21:5 ESV)

A humble journey to Jerusalem began with a scandalous entrance into humanity.

The story of Jesus, unfiltered, unpolished… unleashed.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. (Isaiah 9:2 ESV)


Not just to the dark alleys of our urban neighborhoods, but to the judgmental corners of every human heart.

Perfection out of scandal.

From the names whispered in the marketplace to the ultimate declaration…
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

Often, the call of God creates hushed conversations before it produces cosmic results.


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