Christmas gets closer and I think of Mary.
The Mother of Jesus.
When the angel appeared to Mary, did she have any idea as to what she was promising to do? Did she know she that as a pregnant unwed girl the town would talk about her? Judge her? Did she realize that people would not understand or believe her explanation of why her belly was growing? Did she even try and explain this mystery? Did her family believe her and support her?
And while she was pregnant she must have wondered about the baby she was carrying. Would he be like other babies? Look like other babies? Was she prepared to be a mother? And how do you mother the son of God?
She must of thought about what kind of mother she would need to be, and not really known. She must have wondered many times over if she really was favored of women. Like when she was giving birth in a dirty stable with a husband as her only help. When she was fleeing to Egypt. Or on those days where dirty dishes and laundry piled up and she felt totally unprepared for the task at hand.
As she was changing his diapers, wiping his nose, teaching him to walk, showing him how to make his bed, and a million other things mothers teach their children, she must have wondered when he would show signs of being the son of God. Would his life progress like the lives of other boys, or would one day he be suddenly transformed into something new and different? She must have in the quiet of the night wondered how he would change the world in a big and noticeable way?
How could she have not wondered many times over why God had chosen her as Jesus’ mother? Her, a young nobody. Especially on those days she and Joseph fought, she felt overwhelmed with life, she lost her temper, gossiped with others, and felt like a bad mother. On those days when she felt poor and saw others with more wealth, opportunities, more power than Joseph and her could ever provide to their son.
Christmas circles around and I think of Mary.
Especially the year I was pregnant with my last born and I spent all morning in bed that December, trying not to move so my breakfast would not heave back up. As Christmas drew nearer, I thought of her more and in a way I never had before. We were both pregnant, yet separated by a few thousand years. And I wondered if so much joy of being pregnant was taken from her because she couldn’t loudly share the news with all her friends? Who did she talk to and confide in, besides her Aunt Elizabeth? Did she have morning sickness and have to try to pretend she was fine? What were her thoughts in the quiet of the night? Her fears and anxieties?
Mary willingly offered to be the mother of Jesus, not knowing exactly how this decision would affect the rest of her life. Not knowing the specifics and fine print.
What pregnant mother really sees into the future and realizes what being a mom will really entail and pull from her soul? As our belly swells and we prepare for the birth, do we ever picture our self as tired, un-bathed, with all our patience gone and what little love still left in our heart from the knock down hard day quickly drying up as our child before our very eyes transforms into the hellion from who knows where because we poured maple syrup on their pancakes and not besides their pancakes.
Who of us says we will do something, like love another unto death do us part, accept a new job, take on a new title and responsibility, or babysit the neighbor’s bird for three months, and really comprehend what we are promising to? Do we really see the joys and disappointments we will face and the challenges that will try us? And if we really knew all the work and tears and problems would we have been so eager to say yes?
Did Mary ever regret saying yes?
I am sure after the pain and mess of birth, she held Jesus and looked him over. Ten toes. Ten fingers. Male child. Nose and two eyes. A helpless baby that would need so much from her. I am sure she started falling in love with him as she cuddled him close, smelling his baby scent. Tumbling over the cliff of motherhood, her love and life so intertwined with his as he grew over the years that she would have done anything physically possible to spare him hurt and pain. She would have gladly protected him with her own life. This is what mothers do. What deep love for another is like, whether parent, mate, sibling, or kindred soul.
In the end, we have a lot in common with Mary.
She promised to do a task, and she carried her task out. Not perfectly, but to the best of her ability.
She did not know the end of the story, or all the steps along the way. She had to quiet her doubts and trust God; put away fear and walk in faith; and without access to the future she could only traverse life one step at a time, trying not to worry about the unknown or unexpected.
We are not so different from Mary, for we are called to do the same.
Join the discussion: What do you think Mary thoughts were?
Linking up at Jennifer Dukes Lee (#tellhisstory)
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- Embracing the Extremes of Life: How and Why We Can Do This - December 8, 2020
- How to Already Never Be Listening (What Not To Do) - November 11, 2020