Monday, December 15, 2008


I've been contemplating Mary, the mother of Jesus, recently. Every year at Christmas, I look at my kids and wonder, what would it be like to be the earthly mother of God?
Mary had ample opportunity to grieve ruined plans. She's engaged to a man and, no doubt, planning their lives together. They'll be married, learn how to live together, decorate their house, and then surround themselves with beautiful babies. Then an angel shows up and suddenly she, an unmarried 14 year old virgin, is carrying the Son of God. And her plans for a normal life forever disappear. Her family thinks she's crazy. Only God intervening in a miraculous dream can convince her husband-to-be to go through with the marriage. The townspeople whisper, mock, shun. Her friends avoid her in the streets. She runs to Elizabeth's for understanding and isolation. Everyone assumes terrible sin resides in her life, when in fact, the opposite is true. She is carrying perfection not shame. But she cannot prove it to anyone. How full of joy she must have been when Joseph marries her anyway. But their marriage would never be free from gossiping tongues and condemning glances.
Her baby is born in Bethlehem in a filthy stable with no mother to help deliver the baby. And then people keep showing up to worship her son while, exhausted, Mary wishes for quiet so she can sleep. Even walking into the temple to offer sacrifices for her firstborn son creates a stir as people begin prophesying and weeping over their long awaited Messiah. She ends up fleeing to a foreign country to escape the wrath of a jealous, earthly king.
I think all this would be enough to make me feel picked on. I think I would cry, "I wanted a simple, normal life, God! To love my husband and children in my village with my family and not create too much of a stir." And yet God saw something in Mary that made her worthy of mothering His Son! He chose her out of millions of women throughout time to nurse, bathe, and diaper God as a baby! Mary's heart is so soft. She seems always to be gracious and inviting - never turning those away who wish to worship her Son. She's always pondering what God is doing, storing His words in her heart for further reflection.
What a joy it must've been to raise a perfect child! I'm sure Jesus was the light of His mother's world! A baby with no sin nature - no need to scold. A two year old who is never defiant. A five year old who is never disrespectful. I'm sure Mary absorbed the joy of those years with delight - and tried not to think about what was to come for her son.
Did her heart break when she realized that at age 12 He felt the call of His Father so strongly that he was willing to disregard her feelings to follow it? What did she feel as her Son became the new sensation in Galilee? Did she beg her other sons to follow their brother as they turned their backs on Him? Did she avoid the discussions at parties about placing her son on a political throne or silencing him before he managed to bring the wrath of Rome on them all? I can't even imagine the agony of watching thousands of people screaming for the death of my son - of standing at the foot of the cross barely recognizing his disfigured body and listening to his tortured breathing. Did God reveal His plan to her in a special way? Did Jesus appear to her after His ressurection? Did He hold her in His arms not as her son but as her Savior?
I'd really love to have Mary's journal. I'd love to know my Savior the way she did. I'd love to learn her lessons of absolute trust, quiet waiting, and heartbreak leading to eternal joy.

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