As we've entered the Christmas season, I've thought more and more about Mary. The Mother of Jesus, that is. And that's because I'm a mom now. In the year 2012, my son was born, and was about 4 1/2 months old at Christmastime. And this year, he's 16 months old. I'm in full blown mommy-hood. I'm passed the waking up at night stage, however we are in teething, running around, climbing, screaming, throwing fit, disobedience, picky eating stages. And I wonder how Mary, the mother of the Son of God, did it. Granted... as a human, Jesus Christ never sinned, but he was tempted. And he was still a baby - waking up at night, needing constant attention and dependence upon his parents. He took first steps, went through the teething stage, learned to climb, and probably learned to throw things too. How did Mary do it?
She had to have been terrified that day when the Angel of the Lord came to her, informing her that she, a virgin, would be carrying and mothering the Son of God. But we also know that she trusted the Lord even in her fear. She had a husband, Joseph, who took her in, loved her, and baby Jesus, despite knowing that baby was not physically his. Together, they watched her belly grow and felt the JOY of baby Jesus kick from the inside out. Only Jesus knows what Mary's heart sounded like as she loved him before his day of birth.
That night when Jesus was born, I wonder if she feared for her physical health, knowing she was not indoors, and amidst animals. Yet, in that amazing moment, when she finally got to hold the baby that had been growing inside her for 9 months, as a new mom, I'm sure she was overcome with JOY despite her circumstances around her. The overwhelming feeling of knowing what unconditional love is - to hold it and have it, hold you.
Those sleepless nights... as a new mom I thought they'd never end! I'm sure Mary felt the same. Yet those moments when you hold your baby in your arms as they nurse in the wee hours of the morning. Sometimes you don't want to put them back down. Such JOY in those tired, sleepless, wonderful moments.
Mary had such a huge responsibility of growing, birthing, raising, and loving the baby, the child, the teenager, the man... Jesus Christ, the Son of God. And despite the fear, worry, doubt, and hard times... Mary was JOYFUL. And now I ask that Mary's Son, Jesus, fill me this Christmas season with HIS JOY that provides strength, perserverance, and fullness. Amen.