I always wanted to be Mary. Well, on Christmas I did. Mimi always had us all gather around for the reading of the Christmas story from Luke and as the story was read, we each would take our figurine from the nativity and place it in the scene. I always wanted to be Mary, but I ended up being a cow or a sheep. Sometimes I would get Mary and I would feel so special. Mary's figurine is feminine, gentle, peaceful and lovely. I felt like I had arrived, if I got handed Mary. I think deep down I have always wanted to be a mother. Mom would have to tell me to stop mothering my sister when we were little. I remember day dreaming about kids, a family, babies, etc. I have, for as long as I can remember, wanted to be a mom. Oddly enough, because kids tend to drive me crazy. haha. Mary tends to get a little too much attention in my book, as far as some denominations and religions go, but the older I have gotten I tend to lean on Mary's testimony and her example of faith and courage more and more.
Mary knew, from day one, that her son would die. When the angel came to her, a sweet teenage girl, and revealed to her God's plan for her, (don't we all wish, sometimes, that we could be told so plainly what God is going to do in the next season of our life) she was told she would give birth to the son of God and that he would be the Messiah. The savior of all the world.
I remember laying in the Dr's office and getting the news that Noah had half a heart, that he would need surgery immediately after birth and that it was a very serious heart defect that some babies don't survive. Absolute fear, trembling, anger and questioning came over my spirit, my entire person was overwhelmed with emotion and fear. The Dr didn't start with "do not be afraid" like Gabriel did. I wish I had that to cushion the blow, but I didn't. I like to think that being told, at 15 or 16, that God was going to make me pregnant, with his divine offspring, that I would react as Mary did, but I know for a fact, that I would not have had such faith, poise and grace as the scripture portrays. (I also like to think that she had at least a mild freak out at some point in the journey. In Luke 1:29 it does say she was troubled. So, I do feel a little encouraged. haha)
I wonder what it was like to raise her boy, knowing he would die the most cruel of deaths, for people who wouldn't deserve to stand where her son would walk, much less have him take their place in punishment of their sin. When Jesus took his first baby steps, did she cry with joy, but at the same time pain? When Jesus began his ministry did she want to hold him back and keep him home, just because she knew what was coming? I suppose she was like any mother, with each milestone she celebrated, but she also cried a little inside. I think about all the hype and craziness of Christmas and for her, "Christmas" was not a party, it wasn't glitz and glam, it wasn't even a holiday or an event. She lived what most of us could never even imagine, she gave birth on a pile of straw, as the livestock watched, ate and pooped a few feet away. She did not have the luxury of pain management. She endured the pains of child birth in every sense and as she "pondered these things in her heart" I do not think she was pondering all the details of the day, the baby shower gifts the Magi brought or the woolly visitors of that day. I think as she pondered, she was thinking of her son who was born to die. What a heavy burden to bear as a mother. That night was filled with a bitter sweetness that only she could understand or explain. She didn't plan her elf on the shelf or go to 5 different stores for stocking stuffers. She didn't decide between the play carpentry set or the wagon for Jesus. She didn't max out a credit card to be the best mom ever. She simply held her baby and I believe, she soaked up every moment she could, knowing he would live to die.
Christmas is so much more than the hype. We all know that, but what if we responded to the Lord's plans and callings on our life as Mary did? What if we told him, "may it be to me as you have said". What if we gently questioned the Lord, as she did, but when He gives us an answer, we don't argue back or become hardened, but submit our spirit and heart to the Lord for his purpose, knowing it is higher and far better than our own.
Christmas Eve is magical, it is lovely, and there are things about it that make my heart skip a beat. This day has had its ups and downs for me. I think back to last year and remember that I was so torn between spending time with my girl and my baby boy. We were 6 hours from home, most of the family, our church and everything comfortable. I remembered, as I sat in our Christmas Eve service this evening, that Mary was hundreds of miles from home, with no family, (besides her fiance) was a new mom, trying to make a stable comfortable and trusting that God had a plan for them. Mary was so humbled, surrendered and submitted. I pray that I can always strive to be just that. I pray that I can continue to trust that God's plan for my children is perfect and that the hole I have in my heart is not an eternal hole. Because of Mary's baby boy, my baby boy was able to be received into heaven, whole and perfect. Because of Mary's boy, I get to see my baby boy again someday. Because of Mary's faith and trust in the Lord, ALL OF THIS BEGAN. If she hadn't of surrendered herself, her needs, her wants, fears and worries, we perhaps could have never had a reason to celebrate anything.
Thank you Mary for being the example of gentleness, trust, faith and surrender. I am thankful for your story, your mothering, your testimony of faith. I'm inspired to continue to trust the Lord with ALL things. May I never forget that God chooses his faithful for the hardest tasks. He walks alongside, he never leaves and he always comes through.
Merry Christmas to each of you and your families. May the Lord richly bless you and yours. Do not forget that we have a Savior who longs for us, desires us and is jealous for us. Give him yourself, your whole self, this season. Trust him. Love him. Share him.
All for Him,