I’m not sure if my pondering of the past seven days of this Advent season is anything akin to the way Mary treasured and pondered in her heart but as a young mama, I must admit…
I, too, find my mind pondering and my heart treasuring as I reflect on that same baby over 2,000 years later–the ONE who came to rescue the world, the ONE who came to rescue me…an earthly mama who has been given a God-sized task to raise a baby(ies).
I know we can’t know, and I know my thoughts are merely conjectures and hypothetical questions, but I wonder how Mary felt when the mission-minded shepherds shared the prophetic news they had just received on a starry hillside from a heavenly host of trumpeting angels. I wonder how she felt when she (again) heard the good news about the ONE who was laying bundled in her earthly arms in the middle of a stinky stable, the ONE who had miraculously come from her womb.
I have to wonder if Mary felt (like I often do) a lot humbled and a little overwhelmed about the privileged task that had been gifted to her.
As she held the Savior in her arms, did she ever ask God, “Why me?” Did she ever question her abilities and fear her human limitations? Did she ever remind God of her brokenness and of her sin? Did she ever ask God, “Why not her? She seems way more suited for this task than I do.” Did she ever feel insecure or incapable or unprepared?
As she listened to Him cry, did she ever think, “How can I do this?” Did she ever feel overwhelmed or weary as she worked to meet His earthly needs? Did she ever cry out, “Lord, this is just too hard!”? Did she ever feel like laying down and giving up?
As she held Him in her arms and tucked Him in at night, did she ever wonder if she was ruining the plan or standing in the way? Did she ever question if she was failing or hurting Him? Did she ever feel guilty or question the ways she was raising this promised King? Did she ever whisper within her anxious soul, “Am I doing my best, Lord?”
As she watched Him grow, did she ever worry about His future? Did she ever wonder if He’d be “all right” and “okay”? Did she ever struggle with control issues and doubt God’s sovereign plans? Was she ever concerned or anxious about her part in these plans?
As she watched Him leave the house and do “His thing,” did she ever worry about others accepting Him? Did she ever hurt when she saw Him hurt? Did she ever struggle with pain and anguish as she watched Him live out His life?
My wondering questions could go on and on and on.
But as I sit by the light of my Christmas tree with an empty coffee cup on a Monday morning with kids who are wandering the house in last night’s jammies, I have to wonder if Mary felt all those things (all those things that I HAVE felt and DO feel) and YET…trusted in the ONE who had entrusted her.
As I look at her words in Luke 1: 46-55 after hearing the initial news that she would give birth to “Jesus, the Most High,” I imagine that she re-visited (many times throughout the raising of Jesus) those words she first uttered when she could have been tempted to fear her calling and question her abilities. I imagine that these very words would serve as a constant reminder of WHOSE strength she was leaning upon as she faithfully fulfilled His plan.
And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.’
After recognizing her humble estate, Mary uses the pronouns of “He” and “Him” 11 times in 10 verses; I think there’s no mistake in this repetitive pronoun. In fact, it seems to me that though Mary was keenly aware of her lowness and littleness, she was also aware of His might, of His abilities,of His track record, of His help, of His provisions, and of His spoken promise to His people.
Mary knew who she was, AND she also knew who HE was.
So as I continue through this Advent season, keenly aware of my inability to parent these babies before me, I will rest not in MY strength but in HIS, knowing that He is faithful to use our LOWNESS and our LITTLENESS to do MIGHTY things IN HIS NAME.