As Christmas draws near, I can't help but wonder what Mary might have been feeling during the days preceding Christ's birth. Since having my own children, I have definitely spent more time thinking about Mary's role in that first Christmas Day. This year, more so than ever, I have found myself feeling so drawn to the mother of Jesus, as I am likely on a similar pregnancy "timeline" to that of Mary's.
While not taking my eyes and heart off of Jesus, I have pondered what Mary might have been feeling, thinking, experiencing during these days before the birth of our Savior. Certainly she was excited as she waited for her baby to arrive, but perhaps she was also nervous. Scared even. Did she anticipate that she would have to deliver Him in a stable? Did she truly understand that her baby would be the Savior of the world? Did she really know that, although He would be hated by many, His love would one day conquer all?
As I also am preparing for a baby boy, I wonder if Mary felt similar things to what I feel. Was she sore? Tired? Apprehensive about labor and childbirth? A little nervous about caring for a newborn?
Did she feel overwhelmed knowing that she was chosen to raise the Savior of the world?
Mostly, I wonder how she felt knowing that she would soon bring into the world a child who would one day die for her.
I love to reflect on the Scripture that tells us of the first time Mary learned of the role that God intended for her in His plan of redemption for His people.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin's name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”
And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.I love Mary's response. “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” Her faith so strong. Her heart so inclined to the Lord's Will.
I imagine, being that she was human after all, she felt some fear or maybe even doubt.
Yet she chose to trust the Lord.
I wonder when she first noticed her belly getting rounder. Or when she first felt her baby moving in her womb. Did she have many other friends to share pregnancy stories with? We assume that Elizabeth was likely a friend and mentor to her during this time, as she would have given birth to John the Baptist just months before...was their relationship similar to that I have with my own mommy friends?
We know, from Scripture, that Mary did understand the impact that her baby would have on the world. And she was humbled that the Lord had chosen her.
Luke 1:46-55 (Mary's Song of Praise)
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
We know that although Jesus was without sin, He was not without human feeling. When he was born, he most likely cried. He was probably cold and hungry. Most definitely he longed for his mother's arms. And, just as I will clothe and feed and cradle my baby boy in a few weeks, I am sure that Mary did the same. That is, after all, what mothers do. No matter who their babies grow up to be.
And though labor must have made her weary and sore, she probably thought of nothing else but her sweet boy as she gazed into her newborn's eyes for the first time. This I can definitely relate to.
What an amazing God we serve. A God whose plan of redemption included a young mother and a baby. A God whose plan for hope involved something as "simple" as a baby being born. A God who could have chosen any means to redeem His children, but who chose to use a baby sent to this earth. Yes, the Lord is all-powerful. Certainly He is in complete control of this world. But how wonderful it is to know that He is also gracious. And loving. And that His plan for hope was not only miraculous, but humble as well.
How awesome that God, in all His infinite power and capable of anything, chose to send His Son to this earth. His Son, a baby who would grow into the man who would one day die so that we could have eternal life with Him.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Jesus.