As Christmas is upon us, I’m ashamed to admit that I just haven’t been feeling the Christmas spirit this year. The decorations are in place, the gifts are wrapped, the tree has been decorated for a third time (a story for another day), the cards have been sent… But instead of the usual excitement I find myself feeling a bit weary.
Perhaps it’s just the normal busyness of the season… or the worrying and fretting over Harper this past week… or the reality that her condition will remain a scary, uncertain thing… or the fact that, aside from one hour, she and I have been attached round the clock for ten days now… or the piles of bills I have hidden in the drawer… or the concern over issues we have going on with our oldest daughter behind the scenes… or, or, or… I could go on and on (as could most everyone else these days!).
The bottom line is, being a parent is not an easy job. And as I was thinking on all of that this morning, I started thinking about Jesus’ mom, and the task that she was given. She was the young, virgin mother of God’s Son. She faced ostracism and judgment as an unwed, pregnant girl. She had to leave her home. She gave birth in a stable. She had visits from angels and wise men and shepherds. She had the pressure and responsibility of raising Jesus, the Messiah- can you imagine? Yet in the face of all this uncertainty, Mary made the choice to praise God for Who He is….
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call be blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me- Holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things, but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and His descendants forever, even as He said to our fathers.” -Luke 1:46-55
Even though Mary had quite a journey ahead of her as a mother and her life wasn’t going quite like what she had envisioned for herself, she was humble before God, and even rejoiced in Him. She didn’t complain or ask why. Instead she recognized that He is holy and mighty, and that He was working out His perfect plan. Nothing was about her- it was all about Him. She found comfort in remembering His promises and the great things He had already done, and remained a faithful and obedient servant.
I can’t imagine motherhood being anything less than challenging for Mary, just as it is for me- although for very different reasons. How do you teach and train and discipline the Son of God? How do you walk through your days knowing your child will bring salvation to the world? And how do you hear the words prophesied about your baby and not live in fear? That can’t be easy. Simeon even told Mary that “a sword will pierce your own soul, too,” foreshadowing the anguish that was to come.
Yet Mary continued. She remained steadfast and true, raising Jesus with a calm and gentle spirit. She held on to the truth about her Son, and “treasured [it] in her heart” (Luke 2:19 and 2:51). What an example for me as a mom… to stay calm, to remain faithful to God in adversity, to rest in His word… To be a mom like Mary and treasure the good things in my heart while trusting God with the rest.
We live in a weary world, full of fear and worry and unknowns. The days are long and hard, trials abound, and Satan would love nothing more than to steal our joy this Christmas season. But just as God was working His plan in Mary’s times of turmoil, He’s working His plan today. Because that baby that He sent through that young mama in a stable? He went on to save the world. He grew up, He lived among men, He gave His life freely for you and for me, and He conquered the grave. In the midst of uncertainty, hope was born. In what seemed like the darkest of nights, light sprung forth. From the grave, life arose, and the greatest battle for all mankind was won. That, my friends, brings a joy that Satan can never steal away.
As we celebrate the birth of the Son of God this week, may we all push aside the worries of the world and instead marvel in the wonders of the Messiah. Weary world, rejoice! The Savior has come, and He reigns forevermore!