Today was our church Christmas program. The choir sang this beautiful rendition of Mary’s Lullaby. If you have a minute, take the time to listen.
When I think about the lyrics of this song, I always get a little choked up. I can’t imagine the feelings that must have been in Mary’s heart as she held her newborn son. Six years ago, a couple of months after Carson was born, I played Mary in a reader’s theater depicting the women in Christ’s life. The feelings that I had that day are still vivid in my mind, but these are the thoughts that I wrote down right after that experience so many years ago:
I have acquired so much admiration and respect for Mary. How inadequate she must have felt when she learned that she would be the mother of the promised Messiah, yet she was full of faith and confidence in the Lord. There she was in Bethlehem, ready to give birth to the Savior, with nowhere to go except a stable – a place where animals are kept. How she must have longed for a better place to give birth to her child – especially this child. How she must have looked in wonder upon her newborn son – knowing who he was, but seeing a helpless baby whom she would have the responsibility and privilege to care for, raise, and love.
Having very recently gone through the experience of bringing a new life into the world, those feelings are still fresh in my mind. I have looked in wonder at my own newborn child. I have looked into his eyes and imagined what he would grow up to become. I have felt of his spirit – perfect and fresh from Heaven, and wondered how I could possibly prepare him adequately to fulfill the mission that he has here. It is so much different from the experience of Mary, but, in some ways, very much the same. Her son was the Messiah. She knew of his mission, and what her role would be. And yet, she was able to hold, cuddle, feed, nurture, and care for that baby, just like any mother does for her child. She was able to teach him, love him, and watch him grow – just like any mother. I do not wish to compare myself to Mary, for I know that there is no comparison to such a noble and righteous woman. The only similarity that I wish to bring out is that, like so many of us, she was a mother.
I believe that all mothers share a common bond. We have all walked hand in hand with God, and marveled at the miracle of the creation of a new life within us. We have all felt overwhelmed and inadequate as we have held our tiny infant, realizing that God has entrusted us with one of his precious children to raise. We have all wondered what we can possibly do to make sure that this innocent and pure infant cradled in our arms will grow up to do what the Lord has sent him here to do. With that in mind, I am in awe as I think of Mary and the enormity of the task that was hers, for her child was not just any child. He was the Savior of the world. There is no doubt in my mind that she was truly blessed among women. She was chosen of all women to bear the Christ child who was destined to save all of us. At the end of the day, that is what Christmas is all about – the birth of a king. It is a celebration of the humble way that he came into the world, and the perfect life that he led. All of the other festivities of Christmas pale in comparison. Christ is the reason for the season. It is keeping that perspective amidst the craziness that is the challenge.
Though I have moved beyond the stage of having babies, I still ponder Mary’s experience each year at Christmas time. It reminds me of the importance of motherhood, and how much the Lord values mothers. He could have sent his son to the earth is majesty, but instead sent him as a helpless, humble baby through the miracle of birth. His mother played a huge role in teaching him and preparing him to accomplish the will of his Father.
And so it is with all mothers. Our children will not walk on water, raise the dead, or die on a cross for the sins of the world, but I believe that they are also destined to accomplish great things. As mothers, we can help them to discover that greatness within themselves, embrace it, live it, and share it with others. A tall order, indeed, but one that we do not have to do alone. Our children were God’s before they were ours, and I believe that He will help us navigate the often turbulent waters of motherhood with greater confidence and increased perspective if we come unto Him.
With that in mind, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas. I will be taking the next week off to enjoy time with family and friends, and I hope you will do the same.