For unto us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace,
there will be no end.
- Isaiah 9:6-7
I get little chills when I think about her.
Mary, that young girl, barely a woman, swelled with pregnancy and having to explain over and over again to people how she really was a virgin, even though, you know, she was super knocked up. What that must have been like for her. How brave she must have been. So brave and so young, all at once. What kind of maturity this little lady must have had, to endure the public scrutiny and yet to know in her heart, she was part of a new thing that had never happened on Earth. An earth-shaking, culture-changing disruption to the previous way of everything. All the rules changed, all the judgements banished and the quietest, most unexpected element was birthed along with the baby in her belly - grace for all.
Today we would just call her a liar. But when I read about her demeanor in Luke, I am amazed at her strength and faith in this absolutely unprecedented event that she was at the center of. That sweet pregnant girl, with plumped ankles and a tired mind, having to travel back to her home town (Luke 2:1) hand-in-hand with her trusting fiancee to register for the census. And her fiancee - did he really trust her? Did he believe in her innocence? Was he in on the spooky wonderful mystery novel that she was living out, day by day, for nine months straight? There are so many elements to this story that we question, that will go without answer until we are in Heaven. But goodness, what a absolutely hysterical experience to live through - and tell about.
I think about Mary a lot, especially around this time of year. When I see my baby son do something new, or say something hilarious, or discover something that I would deem ordinary. The Christmas tree fascinates him. I should probably be more mesmerized by it. And that's how this story of Mary is - something rather ordinary that most of us have heard before that we don't really take the time to meditate on. After having my own son, and cherishing both the big moments - he said mama! - and the small moments - he laughed at my joke which means he understood me! - I have the tiniest peephole of insight of what that must have been like for Mary and her little boy. Mary, hearing her boy say mama for the first time. Mary, having her baby cradled by the town's renown righteous man, Simeon (Luke 2:25) and hearing him gush the most curious, radical things about the boy's destiny.
Mary, who "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" (Luke 2:19) and "marveled about the things said about him" (Luke 2:33). That is how the scriptures describe her over and over again. Cherishing these tender words spoken about her baby boy. Well, I can actually relate to this part of her story - I know what that feels like! I can't imagine living the rest of her story, but cherishing the words spoken about my little creation, well, every mom can attest to that feeling, right? That's what we do; we cherish the moments, the words, the glances of their eyes and the musical tone of their immature speech. And, you know, we try to Instagram it. In the best lighting possible.
In all seriousness though, I'm baffled by this story. And a bit choked up. Sweet Mary, how I wish I could have gathered near to you, made you a batch of cookies and poured you a hot cup of coffee and just processed with you about motherhood. The way all of us moms do about our kids. I wish I could ask, What was it LIKE for you? Tell me your birth story. What was the look on Joseph's face when he first saw Jesus? And also, seriously, were there sheep like 5 feet away from you while you were heaving that baby out? Because, MARY. Girl. I'm undone by your bravery. You some kind of woman.
Today is December 24, Christmas Eve. I am meditating alone on this bit of scripture. I don't mean to make Mary the focus of the story about Jesus Christ, I really don't. But as a mama, I do think she deserves some RESPECT. My perspective has changed so much since becoming a mom myself. I am so grateful that God himself chose little Mary, the highly favored (Luke 1:28) to be the quarterback of his big story. Shows how modern he is, as Bono would say, because "women of the future hold the big revelations."
I'm proud to be in the same camp as Mary, a young mom who cherishes and ponders the things about her son's future. I'm grateful to be living in a time where, yes, the dark may be getting darker, but the light is also getting brighter (Isaiah 60:2). The future is so bright, friends, when we accept the truth of Jesus' gospel and ask him to be the forever companion in our lives (Romans 10:9). I am grateful for this holiday, this celebration of our savior's grace and all the brave ones who surrounded him. Merry Christmas to you. Peace on your household. Grace for all of us.