When the angel visited her and told her she would conceive and bear the Son of God, did she really know what she was in for?
Most women know that when they conceive that they are in for the ride of their lives. Pregnancy is a dangerous thing, even in this day and age of modern medicine. I can’t imagine what it was like when Mary was pregnant.
When a 20 something woman, with good access to hygiene, food and medical gets pregnant, she still has to deal with morning sickness, her body stretching out to unbelievable proportions and knowing that soon she’s going to be tortured for hours, if not for days, to give birth. We just know this.
Back in Mary’s time, they didn’t have soda crackers and ginger ale. She didn’t get to lay in bed and whine, she had to get up and work. She could have been stoned to death for just being pregnant. Much as being an unwed mother is humiliating and embarrassing these days, we, at least in the United States, don’t have to worry about being murdered for it.
So, after all this, she’s holding her baby in her arms. For me, that was the most powerful moment in my life. Nothing has ever compared. I don’t know about fathers, but I know, as a mother, that I have a bond with my children that started that day. I carried them, I went to death’s door to deliver them, and I would die for them. All that for my normal, average, mortal children.
For Mary, she knew she held God in the Flesh in her arms. Her baby, her flesh, but not really her’s. The Son of God, God in the Flesh, Eternal and Everlasting.
His first smile was for her, she was looking on the face of God and He was smiling on her. How many of us want God to smile on us?
His first steps. What joy that brings into a mother’s heart. Yet, she knew one day that His steps would take Him away from her.
His first words. For most children, usually the first word is “no!”. I wonder what His first words were?
I love when my children tell me “I love you”. When He said that to his mother, Mary had God telling her “I love you”. More than likely, His arms would be around her. How many of us dream of that? The Bible tells me that God loves me, but to hear the words from His lips, to be in His arms?
To raise a child who didn’t sass, didn’t whine, did as He was told.
Mary had it good.
What did she feel when He left for His ministry? She knew what He had to do. She knew He had to leave, to go spread His word, His Gospel. Remember, though, Mary was mortal. Did she worry about Him? Did she wonder if He’d have enough to eat, a place to sleep, and would He keep warm? My mom tells me that no matter how old we get, a mother never stops worrying about these things.
Was Mary there the day He was whipped? Did she have to stand and watch as He was beaten to within an inch of His life? While He was mocked and ridiculed. Humiliated in front of and by those He came to save?
How did Mary stand there and watch them nail her Son to a cross? Did having to watch that drive her close to madness? Did she want to run to Him, shove those guards away, grab Him and protect Him? She knew He had to do this. She knew He was willing to do this. But, as a mother, how did she do it? I would do anything, absolutely anything, to protect my children. I don’t know if I’d have the courage to stand and watch someone hurt my child.
I do not write this to deify Mary. She was a mortal mother, as mothers are. I just want to remember what this season is really about. Joy at our Savior being born, yes. Joy and love with family and friends, yes. But, I want to truly remember the sacrifice that was made for me. When He was on the cross, Jesus knew me. He knew my name. He knew my sins. He stayed because He loves me.
My mortal brain cannot wrap completely around that. I have glimpses, every once in a while, at that waking moment in the middle of the night. And my heart breaks and rejoices at the same time.
This Christmas Season, remember why. Remember the joy of a mother holding a child and remember the anguish of a mother watching her Son die. Give all praise and honor to the One who did it all for us.