Jesus’ mama

I’ve been thinking about Mary a lot in the last several weeks.  She has always been one of my heroines.  Back when I was very single and very much wanting to get married, yet having no prospects on the horizon, Mary’s submission to the Lord’s will was such an example to me.  Three short years later, now that I’m married and have two babies, my respect for her continues to deepen.

While Mary was chosen by God to bear the Messiah, she was no less human than I am.  And in all that humanity, she was a mama.  Jesus was her baby.  I know that for me, as a mama, it’s so hard for me to think of my babies going through any type of pain.  Yet Mary knew, even before Jesus was born, that He was the Savior.  And though she didn’t know the details, I’m sure she realized that being a Savior would bring much pain.  And such thoughts would only be confirmed by Simeon when he told her that “a sword will pierce through your own soul also” (Luke 2:35).  And this when her little One was just weeks old.

And the amazing thing to me is that, in all of this, “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19).  If I’m being totally honest with myself, I don’t know if I would do the same.  To look my precious tiny baby, to nurse this helpless little one, knowing that great pain will come to him…I don’t know if I could just accept it.  And yet, in the end, I must.  Jars of Clay captures the conflicting emotions so well in their song “Bethlehem Town”:

Oh, Mary, Joseph, rest your eyes
Try not to think of the ending
World full of empty, He will die
But tonight He is still just a child…

Have you cursed at the wind
Have you cried to the heavens
Have you fought with this mercy you don’t understand
When the wise men kneel down
To kiss the hand of this king they found in Bethlehem town

Will you hold back the years a while
Will you dream that this man could always be a child
And never carry all the weight
Of the dirt and the distance and the company we keep…

And did the stars shine much brighter that night
You gave birth to the death that would bring us to life
And did the mystery keep you awake
Was the sound of His little heart too much to take

I don’t know what the point of all this rambling is…it’s just that in the past weeks, I’ve been struck anew by the humanity of the Incarnation, from a mother’s viewpoint.  Giving birth is such an amazing experience, and I sometimes forget that’s what Mary did…she birthed Jesus.  That incredible moment right after the baby is born, when you bring them onto your chest and have your first glimpse of this little one that has kicked and squirmed inside you for the past nine months.  Mary had that…with Jesus.  She nursed the Savior of the world.  He was her baby Boy. And she was His mama.

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David’s town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother’s hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David’s town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love

(Andrew Peterson; “Labor of Love”)

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