Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Mother and Her Son: Mary and Jesus

I love the Christmas song, "Mary Did You Know?". It always makes me cry for some reason. I think because it reminds you of how REAL Jesus is and was and how real Mary's pain must have been to see her son crucified, not yet fully understanding why.

Last summer, I bought a book at a library sale that had the lyrics to this song, written by Mark Lowry, and I was reading it to Jacob the other day. I read the introduction, where Mark explains how the song came to be. He wrote,
Can you imagine the bedtime stories Mary must've told Jesus? Stories of stars, stables, and singing angels. Stories of shepherds and wise men from afar. Stories of prophets and priests and promises. 
Can you imagine? She had been chosen to deliver God into the world. To nurse Him. To love him. To protect Him. And, like every mother, to teach Him. She taught Him how to talk. She changed God's diapers. She was chosen by God to raise the Son of God. And she watched Jesus grow in favor with God and man.
That got me really thinking and wondering. Now that I am a mom, I know what it's like and I wonder how it must have been like for Mary and Jesus.

Who was there when she gave birth? Was it just herself and Joseph? The Bible does not mention anyone else being there... Was it scary to give birth in a stable with no midwives? What was her labor like? How long did it last? Did Joseph know what to do when Jesus came out or did Mary have to somehow guide him through the process? Was Joseph "ready to be a Daddy" to the Son of God? How did Mary feel when she saw her newborn son, the holy and perfect Son of God Most High, swaddled in cloth and laying in a trough from which dirty animals ate? Was she confused at how it all turned out? Being turned away by the inn-keepers, did she just want to scream, "Do you realize that I am the chosen vessel that is to give birth to the Living God this very night?!"

Did baby Jesus keep them up at night? Did he grunt and squawk in his sleep? When did he start sleeping through the night? Did he learn to latch onto her breast right away to nurse or did it take them a while to learn together? Was he a gassy baby? Pukey baby? How often did he cry? Did she ever have to strip his clothes off and dunk him in a bucket of water because he pooped all over himself?! Did she get so exasperated sometimes that she threw her arms up in the air, crying "Help me Jehovah God!"

What were the prayers that Mary whispered in the ears of her baby Yeshua every night and every morning? What were the lullabies she sang as he drifted off to sleep? What were her tricks for putting him to sleep? Did she cradle him and swing as she hummed praises to God? Or was Joseph better at getting him to sleep? Did he walk the room with him?

Image credit. Check out the link because it has a beautiful poem also.

Did having a new baby give Mary and Joseph some marital bumps in the road until they "fell into a routine"? To whom did she go for advice? Her mother? Joseph's mother? Her cousin Elizabeth? Did she have friends that she could confide in when she felt tired or afraid? Or did she confess all her fears to God and no one else?

In his introduction to the book, Mark Lowry wrote:
There was no one to turn to for advice. She couldn't go to her mother and ask, "Mom, what was it like when you had your first virgin-born son?" No one had ever been down that road before. This was a first... and a last.
While, yes, that is true, I'm sure there were lots of questions her mother could answer for her. Like, "Is it normal for his poop to be this green? Do you think he's too cold? Do you think his circumcision is healing alright? Do you think he is ready to start eating solid foods?"  While we know that Mary was a teenager when she birthed Jesus, we don't know exactly how old she was. Maybe she had experience with newborns in helping raise younger brothers and sisters, or cousins. But it's so different when it's YOUR baby that you are responsible for and that you love! I'm sure she had questions like all new mothers do!

Image credit
Did she and her sisters, sister-in-laws, or friends sit and have "mommy talk"... telling stories of the funny or naughty things their kids said and did that day or how her baby Jesus mastered sitting up or said his first word? What was his first word?! When did he first smile? Was it just the cutest smile you ever saw that just melted your heart? Did her friends ever say to her, "What is it you are doing right that you have the most well behaved little boy we have ever met?!"

What kind of games did she play with him? Which one was his favorite? Did she teach him how to pray? Was he a mama's boy? Did his daddy make him toys in his carpentry shop? Which one was his favorite? Did he have any kind of security blankie or comfort toy that he couldn't leave home without? Or did he only rely on the comfort given to him by his Father in Heaven? What made him sad? What made him laugh?

Did Mary ever worry about him when he was off playing with his friends? We know that she did at least a little bit when he was twelve years old and he wandered off to the Temple, to be in "his Father's House". When did Jesus KNOW and fully understand who he was and what his Father's will was for his life? When he knew, did he ever want to tell his Mom, but didn't because he didn't want her to worry for him??

If we sit and wonder where our sons (and daughters) will be in the next 5, 10, 20 years, how much more so did Mary and Joseph. Even if Mary did ever have an inkling of worry, I doubt it lasted very long. She knew the voice of God and submitted her life to Him before she was pregnant, so I'm sure she also did after he was born. BUT - although Catholicism would like to say she is - Mary was NOT perfect. And we need to also remember that her son, Jesus, was fully God, BUT also FULLY human.

We will never know the answers to these questions... (Well, I suppose we can ask Mary when we get to Heaven, but I'd like to think that at that point we won't really care)... Nevertheless, I know that Mommy's are Mommy's and babies are babies, no matter where you go in the world and, I believe, no matter at what point in history.

I'm not sure why, but that gives me comfort to think about that.

Enjoy the video of the song "Mary Did You Know" below! (Not the usual version that's on the radio, but it's beautiful nonetheless!)

God bless!

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