Mary, did you know?
I think about Mary a lot. Mary, The mother of Jesus. Do you think about Mary? I think about her throughout the year, frequently. But this time of year I think of her even more so. That song, “Mary did you know?” That song makes me tear up every time. I love it. I wonder what it was like for her. I wonder what exactly she did know.
We don’t know enough about Mary and what she went through, what she was like as a person, as a mother. But we have some revealing clues that let us get a good look.
What we know...
We know Mary was a super good person with a great heart for God, after all she was chosen, “Highly favored among women.” Luke1:28 – What must it be like to be chosen to be favored by God to raise his holy son?!
We know an angel came and told her that she was going to be a mother and that her child would be the promised savior. So she got to speak to an angel, and her interaction with that angel was wise. It gives us more clues as to the type of person she must have been.
We know that she was a virgin. This was a new experience. She couldn’t go ask her other virgin friends how they handled it. She was the one and only to walk her walk. She stood alone. I wonder if she felt lonely? Each one of us has a unique walk. But this is something more. This was a miracle that had been foretold for decades. This was the promised savior of the people. What an awesome responsibility and privilege.
I doubt God’s plan looked to Mary as she may have expected when she first heard the news. Can you imagine being told you are going to carry and deliver and raise the son of God!? I would expect that kind of favor to come with a little more prosperity than it appears it did at first. One more way Mary is a lot like us! God’s plan rarely looks like we expect. Whatever she may have expected, I doubt she thought she would be delivering the son of God in a barn.
Based on the fact that we read about Joseph when Jesus was “lost” in the temple at about age twelve and then we never read anything more about him, we can assume that Mary was widowed at some point. Jesus had siblings so that means Mary had to bury her husband and care for their children on her own. Also, unlikely the way Mary saw her role as the Mother of the Messiah.
She must have been resourceful. When they are guests at the wedding in Canna there are some indications (I won’t get into now) that they are a family of means. Maybe not wealthy, but they are not poverty stricken either. Because Mary was a widow, this indicates that she must have been resourceful and likely good with money.
What kind of mother was she?
I think about Mary often. She must have been very special. She must have been an amazingly good hearted, strong and capable woman. She went through A LOT! She also carried the weight and responsibility of caring for, nurturing the Son of God. I wonder what she knew.
Jesus was holy, without sin. But I bet he made mistakes. Simple mistakes, growing pains that all children make. He may have colored on the walls as a child. He probably ran out in the street without looking once or twice. (While a caravan was trotting down the road). We know he didn’t always check in and make sure that his parents knew where he was, ie, “lost” in the temple. We know based on the scriptures that he was human. And subject to certain errors. You see without sin is not the same as perfect. And Mary had to be the type of mother who could understand that and handle it. She had to be the type who could guide, and nurture and correct. She had to be wise.
One of the movies about the life of Christ shows Mary telling Jesus stories as a child, these stories are ones he later re-tells and become the famous parables we have today. Now, I don’t know if that is the way that happened. Maybe. Maybe not. Either way she was his mother, therefore, there are things that she said and did that impacted his character. Because that is the power and privilege of motherhood.
As a parent you will impact your children. You will help to shape who they become. And while I think about Mary and the amazing responsibility of raising Jesus, the son of God, I also realize we all have that same responsibility. We are all raising children of God. God gave me my children, and he gave you yours. He trusted you to raise your child to know and grow in the love and knowledge of God. How incredible!
Nothing goes as planned...
I think about Mary and how life probably did not work out or turn out as she may have hoped or planned. I think about the amazing strength that she had to have had to be able to endure the criticism around her. I think about the amazing courage she had to stand by Jesus as he grew and into his ministry. I think about her incredible faith to know that God chose her and her son and that no matter what their financial circumstances or social acceptance she put her faith in God and his will. But mostly I think about the wisdom she must have had. She must have been an amazing mother to know how to correct, direct and guide her sweet baby into adolescences and even handle the teenage years. I wonder about these things and then I pray and I ask God for that kind of wisdom. The wisdom Mary must have had to handle all that she had to handle. The wisdom to raise his children, the ones he trusted me with. I pray daily for the ability, the strength and courage, the heart, the faith and the wisdom to raise Jesus loving kids.
Hope for the future
So take a moment today to think about the plan and the call that God has on your life. No, things probably have not worked as you expected. You may have envisioned your “great calling” or “highly favored of God” to look differently than it looks right now. But at least, you are not 9 months pregnant riding a donkey to give birth to the Son of God in a barn. So no matter what the challenge looks like, do not lose heart. God has spoken to you and chosen you and you never know exactly what his plan looks like. But that plan certainly comes with a purpose and hope for the future. Like Mary, you are carrying THE hope for the future.