Alyssa Shibata has been daydreaming about Mary this week. Join us this Sunday at 8, 9:30 or 11 am to continue learning why Jesus came Down to Earth:
I only really think about Mary at Christmas. It's sad, but true.
In the stories of Jesus, this is the only time she's the leading lady. Most other stories she's in, she seems to be a supporting character. After Daniel's sermon last Sunday, I've been thinking a lot this week about Mary's role in giving life to Jesus. I've always just kind of glanced over her pregnancy. In my mind, she went straight from an angel telling her she would carry the Christ to being 9 months pregnant. Makes sense, right?
I don't have any kids, but I've watched my sister Stephanie bring two beautiful babies into this world. Yes, I will shamelessly include pictures of my niece and nephew in this blog post.
In the 9 months leading up to their births, there was so much joy, anticipation, dreaming and planning. Could it be a boy or a girl? I wonder who she will look like most. Do you think she'll be an athlete, scientist, artist? Well, my dad's side of the family is artistic, but your side of the family is academic. It goes on and on. There is so much dreaming.
I wonder if Mary had these dreams for Jesus in the 9 months she was carrying him. On top of those little dreams, I'm sure she constantly wondered, "What does it mean that he's the son of God?" She said yes to something she didn't fully understand. How could she? How are you supposed to mother the son of God?
I've found myself daydreaming a lot about Mary this week.
There are the little dreams and hopes of a mother-to-be, but I also think about the constant bullying and judgement that she and Joseph must have faced. Nine months of nobody believing her. Nine months of ragging on Joseph for sticking with a "fallen woman" according to the culture of the time. Nine months of being ostracized by the community. And I'm sure none of that went away once the baby came.
Again, she said yes to something she didn't fully understand.
My sister was the Matron of Honor at my wedding two months ago. She was 9 months pregnant and beautiful! Her due date was six days after the wedding. As she waddled around at the rehearsal and visited with people, I remember thinking to myself over and over again, "She's so strong! She's such a trooper."
Stephanie never complained. She participated in everything and was honored to be part of the occasion. At 6 months pregnant, she hosted my bachelorette party, at 9 months pregnant, she made a 7 hour drive to my wedding (against doctor's advice), she stood (and occasionally sat) by my side as I married the love of my life, she gave a beautiful speech at the reception and stayed for the party.
As much as I admire my sister for her strength and selflessness on one of the most important days of my life, I can't help but think that doesn't even compare to what Mary went through (sorry, Steph).
Riding on a donkey for hundreds of miles while 9 months pregnant for a census? No thank you. Giving birth in an icky barn where animal poo is all around you? Ew. Putting your newborn baby in a feeding trough? Unsanitary.
My sister would probably laugh at the fact that I'm comparing her to Mary, but it's helped me gain a new respect for the Christmas story. I've had both men and women tell me that their hearts grew for Mary once they became parents.
Mary took on one of the greatest challenges willingly, even joyfully! And she did it so humbly, without seeking the spotlight or credit. Jesus came from such humble, Earthly beginnings. I aspire to that level of commitment to God's calling.
Like many people, I find Biblical Relevance (one of Trietsch's core values) when I can picture myself, my thoughts and my emotions in the story.
So I wonder, is there a moment in your life that made you think about the Christmas story differently? Share with me in the comments.