December 25, 2011

A Christmas Post

This year as Christmas has approached, I have found myself thinking of Mary. Being the mom of three boys, I think it’s easier for me to put myself in her place . . . and yet, who can imagine what that was really like?
I grew up in a very conservative group of believers who eschewed any focus on Mary in order to counteract what they saw as “worship” of Mary by Catholics and Episcopals and some other more liturgical beliefs.
But you can’t deny Mary had an experience that no one before her and no one after her will ever have. She had a unique relationship with Jesus. She was his mom.
Think about the facts as real life and not some story in a book you’ve heard a million times.
  • Mary was barely a teenager.
  • She had never had sex.
  • An angel appeared to her and told her she was having a baby.
  • Mary is pregnant in a society that KILLS unwed mothers.
  • Mary may have only barely known Joseph as their engagement was likely arranged . . . and he was probably much older.
  • She had to go to this man and try to convince him that she was having a baby even though she had never slept with anyone.
  • It was so unbelievable that an angel had to appear to Joseph so he would know it was the truth.
  • At some point during her pregnancy, Mary and Joseph get married.
  • Then at nine months pregnant Mary travels on the back of a donkey for miles to Bethlehem.
  • Her new husband can not find a place for them to stay. Apparently, he didn’t make any arrangements ahead of time. Ha!
  • She ultimately ends up in the barn with the filthy animals for the night. (Remember, she’s very pregnant. Think her nose might have complained . . . maybe her stomach? And eventually her back as she laid in the straw to try to rest.)
  • Labor begins.
  • Her first baby is born far away from her family. With just her and her husband in a barn full of animals.
  • She has to wrap her newborn in clothes reserved for dead people.
And all of that was just the pregnancy and birth. She raised this Godchild in her home. How many times did she watch him run and play and think exactly how is this boy going to save the world? Was she able to not worry when he got sick, confident that His purpose here would not allow him to die from some illness? Or did she live in fear as a mother wondering when His calling was going to kick in? When would He leave? How would He save the world? What did all of those prophecies mean?
I can not imagine. I have three boys and being the momma of boys has a set of challenges all its own. But more than likely I won’t have to watch them be persecuted. I won’t stand in an audience and watch their execution. I will probably not outlive my children.

I wonder when Mary found out exactly what “saving” this world was going to mean for Jesus. How her heart must have been torn. He was her boy even if He was also the Saviour of the world. How does a momma stand by and watch her baby tortured and executed? How sweet the bond must have been between him and his momma for him to think of her from the cross and ask John to take care of her.

What was the reunion like when she finally entered Heaven and was able to see her boy in all His splendour? How do you give birth to the Saviour and still see Him with the awe and respect He deserves?

I have to be honest and say I’m glad that wasn’t the job God had for me. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t have handled it. What an amazing lady Mary must be. Won’t she have some CRAZY stories to tell when we meet her in glory one day!

I hope each of you has a very Merry Christmas! Don’t forget what’s important. Try not to get lost in the family dynamics, and the gifts and the food. We’re supposed to be celebrating! Celebrating the birth of a baby in a barn to an extremely young teenage mother . . . not the best sounding circumstances for the birth of a baby. And yet THIS BABY – He changed the world.