Last night as our family drove to meet friends for Christmas Eve services, the rain was coming down and clouds covered the sky. I imagined trying to follow a great star leading the way to a Babe in the Manger on such a night. The entire Christmas story began to unfold in my mind. My thoughts stopped on Mary, the virgin mother. In some ways, I felt like we had some kind of bond in both being moms. However, there are so many things that set us apart.
In thinking further on Mary, the mother of our Savior, many of our initial thoughts are on her purity, her obedience, her radiance, and her selection by God Almighty himself for a very special purpose. We esteem her above others.
What we also know about Mary was that she was not perfect. Only Christ was and continues to be without sin. None of us want to think of Mary as any less than pure, but the reality is that she was very much human.
In having been brought up in a Jewish home, Mary was familiar with both the Law of the Old Testament as well as the prophecy of the coming Messiah. When the angel appeared unto her, she knew deep in her soul the significance of what was shared with her and of her future. She also came to become aware of some of the realities of what would come to pass.
At the time that she was found to be with child, Mary as an unwed woman could have been stoned. In already being betrothed to Joseph, she could have faced divorce and the social ridicule that came with it. Joseph, also being called of God, chose to remain with Mary and marry her. During the remaining days, it would be logical to think that on some level, Mary and Joseph would be shunned, gossiped about, and found to be target of many hateful stares.
During her pregnancy, the couple would find themselves leaving their home to participate in the census. This would be followed by a journey into a foreign land to protect the life of the Son of God when Herod issues a decree to have all male children under 3 years of age killed. It is no coincidence that the foreign land that they journeyed to was none other than the land of Egypt – a country known for its many years of enslaving the Israelite people.
While Jesus grew in stature, I wonder how many times other moms would become jealous over Jesus’ intellectual ability, his knowledge of the Scriptures, or even his exemplary conduct. After all, we know that He was sinless from the minute He was born until the moment He gave up His last breath on the Cross. How was that jealousy vented? When Mary shared with others that Jesus was the Messiah, did she face unbelief, ridicule, and even taunting? I imagine that given human nature, she did.
During those final days at the Cross when our Savior was being crucified, He was Mary’s savior, but He was also her son. Oh, the heartbreak of her momma heart. I can not begin to imagine.
In her humanness, I can only imagine that there must have been at least one instance when Mary was tempted to lose her focus on what God called her to. How easy it would have been to grumble to God that the life that she found herself in during those dark times of persecution, fleeing for safety, or grieving over the pain and cruelty that her Son endured was not what she had signed on for. When did she get a vote?
There is part of me that doesn’t want to consider these things of Mary. But there is also that part of my heart that would take comfort in my own humanness through hers. You see, we many times forget about the potential for these dark moments and possibly moments of unbelief, because we see how God completed the journey. We see His glory in her life and what He was able to accomplish through her.
I share this to encourage you that in His omnipotence God does have a similar plan for your life. The hard part is that we aren’t able to see how He has worked all the dark moments and trials together for that magnificent ending. An ending that may impact this world in ways that we can not even begin to comprehend.
If on this Christmas it is hard to see through the rain and storm clouds of this life to even consider that His plan for your life is good and perfect, please take hope that Christ our Savior is the Light that gets us through the darkness.
As I type this tonight, my thoughts go to two women we know that recently became widows leaving them to raise children and grandchildren alone. I think of a young family with a 9 month old baby in a drug induced coma as a last resort to try to stop almost continuous seizures, which are the result a genetic condition that took his brother’s life at this very same age. Oh, the heartbreak of this family. I ask for prayer for a young mom whose fought to be at home for Christmas with her children under the care of hospice.
My prayers are with these families and many more. I would venture to say that known of them would have signed on for the days that they are currently travelling. However, God has not abandoned them. He continues to carry them through these days that may feel very dark and He will be their Light to guide them in the days to come. If you feel like you are in the middle of times that are trying, discouraging, and darker than you imagined they could be; allow me to offer you a hope. His name is Jesus, the Savior of the World. He faithfully guided and carried Mary to accomplish His purpose through her and He will faithful do the same for you. He can do no other as it would go directly against who He is in His very nature.
Praying you each have a blessed and Christ-filled Christmas! May you find Joy in Christmas despite your circumstances as you focus on the light that He offers in the darkness.