Isn’t this beautiful? You must check out Liz Lemon Swindle’s paintings…They’re breathtaking!
I know I don’t come anywhere close to being on the same plane as Jesus’ mother, Mary. I won’t even pretend I do.
Yet each Advent season, my love for Mary deepens because, as a mother myself, I “get” her so much more than I did when I was child-free and lacked the understanding of a mother’s heart. I know this isn’t true of everyone—I realize you don’t have to be a mom to appreciate the mother of Jesus.
However, I’m an experiential-learner so my awe of Mary has grown tremendously since I’ve started my lifelong foray into motherhood.
This year, I wanted to work through a short study or reading that prepared my heart for the birth of Jesus. The gifts, the parties, the Christmas pageants, the photos . . . They’re all wonderful (well, mostly) and a part of the season I adore; however, I desire for my heart to arrive in a joyfully contemplative state when the calendar turns to the twenty-fifth instead of the typical one that’s weary, on-edge, and running on too much coffee.
I couldn’t find one. Of course, I was looking for a study/reading that focused on motherhood and compared my own personal journey with Mary’s so my topic was a bit specific but still . . .I wanted to read about the humanistic, authentic side of her that was the essence of motherhood.
After all, lest we forget that Mary was a woman who was bound by the flesh—just like us? She rejoiced when a toddling Jesus took His first steps and she rocked Him when He skinned His knee. She likely giggled over the cute things little Jesus said and perhaps became a bit teary when He was broken-hearted.
We mothers . . . We feel. Deeply. And Mary was no different.
Each Thursday in December, we will look at the traits of Mary that are relatable to us not just as mothers, but as women in general here at Mommy on Fire.
Mary dealt with fear. Trust. Obedience. A desire for female community. She had to persevere through trials. And she stored up treasures in her heart that only a mother could hold-dear and felt a sword tear them to pieces when her Son was nailed to the cross.
Mary was thought to be about fourteen when the angel Gabriel appeared. During biblical times, angels weren’t just little fairies—they were massive. Hence why they warned those who caught a glimpse of them to “not be afraid.”
Gabriel was no different—he was huge. To ease Mary’s likely scared-out-of-her-wits mind, he tells her not be afraid because “you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:29)
Yet, you and I both know that girl was beyond frightened. In fact, the New Living Translation says she was “confused and disturbed.”
Her fear likely didn’t dissipate much when Gabriel went on to explain “You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end” (v.31-33).
The complete absurdity struck Mary, who then inquires how this is possible when she is a virgin.
Gabriel explains and Mary listens. He soothes her by stating one of the most-quoted verses in the New Testament today—”For nothing is impossible with God” (v.37).
Mary had a lot to lose, you know. Betrothed to Jospeh, running through her mind was likely the whole “what on earth is he going to think?” thing.
Not to mention if no one believed her, the law of the time said she could be stoned to death. If she wasn’t believed yet not put to death, she could face a life of ridicule and judgment. Living a life of ridicule and judgment would mean she would likely never be married or have children of her own.
The price was big. No, the price was massively unfathomable and extremely scary.
Yet she listened, gathered the facts, and exhibited wisdom well-beyond her fourteen years when she answered, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said” (v.38).
I read her words and I am humbled. The fear of my son’s inattentiveness. The worry over some stuff happening with my daughter. The fear of Spencer’s temper becoming a unmanageable. My complete terror of the thought of anything ever happening to any of them.
They must fall to the foot of the cross.
Because Mary reveals our fear is really rooted in a lack of trust.
And that’s what we’ll discuss next week: trust. Come back and join me?
What fears do you possess as a mother? Why do you think this is so? Can you identify what is at the root of those fears?
Supplemental Reading: Luke 1 and 2 (any version), 2 Timothy 1:7 (NLT), John 14:27 (NLT), 1 John 4:18, Psalm 91:4-8 (NLT)