Friday, January 21, 2011

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

There is something special about being pregnant during Christmas, especially with a son. I find myself thinking about what Mary had to have been going through. If you know anything about history you know that there were no hospitals, no epidurals, no nurses holding your hand and no doctors to oversee it all (my own views on this are a totally separate blog). In the best of circumstances women came together when it was time for a friend or family member to deliver and walked her through it, in the worst it was like Mary. There she was, young (possibly as young as 13), tired from traveling, alone with her husband who would have had limited knowledge of birth since he was a carpenter at trade, I'm sure more than a little nervous if not down right scared, with no where to give birth and in pain, yes pain, I have no doubt that Mary wasn't spared the pain of childbirth just because it was Jesus. It cracks me up that every picture of Mary and Jesus is like the one I have to the left, calm, collected beautiful Mary with every hair in place holding baby Jesus, a baby that looks like it's at least 1 month old, not a red, crying squirming baby. I don't know about you but the pictures of me after the kids were born are not some of my favorites, my hair is wild, my face is flush, there are tears from joy and pain, and the kids, well we're talking newborns here, and even days after there are very few pictures of a wide awake, cooing infant. I know, tangent but still, think about it. Anyway, back to Mary, like I said, I'm amazed at what Mary must have been going through. I wonder what she pondered.
The knowledge that Mary carried with her is overwhelming. I have to believe one of two things, Mary was stronger than any other mother on earth or God chose someone pure in heart but with limited knowledge of what the prophecies meant. Can you imagine carrying a child that you knew would become the Saviour of all mankind and knowing all that would have to happen to him to attain that goal? I don't think I could do it and I have decades and centuries of Christ followers before me leading the way. I would do anything to protect this little one growing inside me from pain, I don't know if I could even be as strong as Abraham and trust God in a very real physical sense. And yet there is a very real possibility that from the very beginning Mary knew enough about the Messianic Prophecies to know that her son would have to die for the worlds salvation. She was seeing all she had been taught coming true before her.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2

and if she knew these to be truth then she probably knew at least some of the other prophecies, especially this one:

Isaiah 53

1 Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Read that and tell me you don't get the big picture. Wow. I don't think I can know these prophecies and know that Mary might have had at least a limited understanding of them and look at what she went through with anything other than awe.She would one day go from the mother gazing with love at a newborn full of promise to a mother gazing with love and sorrow at a Son giving his life for people who didn't care. I don't think she is a Saint in the sense that others do but I do believe that she was touched by God in an amazing way. I wish there was more about her in the Bible, I would have loved to know more about what she thought and pondered. And I firmly believe she treasured each and every day of Jesus' life, holding each one as a special memory for what was to come. If I don't learn anything else from her it's this. Each day with my children are to be treasured and looked at as blessed.

Lord help me to enjoy the good days and the bad, to see your hand in the mundane and to praise you each and every day. Help me to treasure all your Son did for me and to teach your truths to my family.

1 comment:

Sarah Moran said...

Shelly, I really, really like this. Thoughtful. I have wondered some of these same things about Mary before. I have even asked God, "How could you call her blessed among women?" I have concluded that it must be because there was great reward awaiting her in Heaven. That has given me great solace in my own loss. I believe that Mary must have known the prophecies. She was a woman of faith. In those days, you knew your stuff. Look how many times the Old Testament is quoted in the New...they studied and memorized! We could learn a few things from them...