As Christmas Day…
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As Christmas Day approaches, my thoughts turn to Mary. I realize the timing is not right . . . Jesus was not born on December 25. Mary and Joseph did not travel through cold snowy weather. But whatever the actual date, we know the travel and delivery took place. Let’s think about that.
We put Mary and Joseph on pedestals because they were the chosen ones, lifting them above other mere mortals. However, just because God chose Mary to bear His Son doesn’t mean He absolved her of all that went with that responsibility.
Mary was pregnant out of wedlock. She endured shame, disgrace, and likely threats of being put to death for her sin. Undoubtedly friends and family scorned her, turned their backs on her, talked about her, and verbally abused her.
We have no reason to think Mary’s pregnancy was free from morning sickness, backaches, weird food choices, roller-coaster emotions, swollen feet, tremendous weight gain, and fatigue. Joseph missed that first trimester, but he still had to deal with all that came with the remaining six months.
Like any first-time expectant mom, she had to be overcome with fear. Am I eating the right foods? What should I do differently? What will it be like? Will it hurt? Who will help me? What if I can’t do this? What if something goes wrong? What if something is wrong with the baby? What doctor will help me?
Joseph had his own concerns. How can I protect Mary? I’ve never done this. What will I have to do to help her? Can I provide for a family? Is this baby really and truly from God?
Mary was chosen because she was highly favored. The angel told her she was blessed among women. He didn’t say her life would be easy. I am blessed, but I still have to work, cook, clean, shop, and do life. I too have God’s favor – He is alive in me – but I get sick, have colds, endure the fears of cancer, get bruises when I bump into furniture, stub my toe, and occasionally fall down.
Do I believe Mary was a strong woman? I believe she was as strong as any young woman pregnant for the first time. I believe she went through everything I went through in my pregnancy, maybe more (my pregnancies were pretty easy and mostly nausea free). I believe God was with her as He was with me. I believe that even though she knew she carried God’s Son, she still wondered what He would look like, if He would be “normal,” and what others would think of Him.
By God’s grace, Mary brought into the world the most wonderful gift, a Savior who would save us from our sins. He came to save His own mother and earthly father, His earthly siblings and extended family, His childhood playmates, His school mates, His friends . . . as well as those who mocked Him, who constantly reminded Him of the indecent nature of His arrival, who refused to play with Him, who continued to shun His parents, and all who rejected Him. He came to save me.
The song asks, “Mary, did you know?” The answer is a simple no. She didn’t know. She was a scared, young, new mom with a responsibility thrust upon her to raise God’s Son. While that thought was never far from her mind, I’m sure the everyday stuff that goes with raising a boy took priority over the fact that He was God’s Son. She had no idea what that meant, what He would do, how He would act, or what would be different about Him.
She was just a mom . . . in need of a Savior. Thank God, He came!
Joni Owens is children’s pastor at New Life St. Louis in Bridgeton, Missouri. She is also the editor of the Toddler, Kindergarten, and Beginner Word Aflame children’s curriculum. Her favorite jobs are being a happy wife to Randy, proud mom of three, and delighted grandma of the most adorable eleven grandchildren.
(From: PURE Newsletter – UPCI Ladies Ministries)