I got up early this morning in order to post today's devotion (written last night), and it is nowhere to be found. I searched and searched. I must begin again.
Quiet is here this morning. As I begin to write it is still dark outside. And the hum of the house in slumber is soothing to me. The tree is twinkling beside me and the Nativity is above me on my computer desk. When I look up I see Mary's face and hands haloed in the bulb's amber light. My little, ceramic Mary snares my attention. Only her face and Jesus' is illuminated by the light. She is kneeling with her hands in prayer. Her face is shadowed by the heavy white veil the sculptor carved around her head.
I am moved. A question forms in my head. It's a question I am almost afraid to ask.
Did Mary kneel?
In the close space of the earthen stable did she kneel before the son she had just labored and toiled to bring into this world? As a mother I connect with Mary. Did she count Jesus' toes and fingers? Did she rub his new little ears and brush her finger across his tiny lips? Did she take him from his manger-bed even when he was sleeping just to nuzzle him into the crevice of her neck? Did she breathe in the scent only babies have and sigh? Was she startled when he cried hungrily? When his little arms and legs flailed did she wrap him tighter in his swaddling clothes to make him feel secure?
And while doing this, did it register fully in her mind who this baby was? In theory Mary knew who Jesus was. She knew what and who he was destined to be. She had been told that her son would be given the throne of David. Yet, when she looked down in his tiny face did she wonder how this ordinary little boy could be the long-awaited Messiah? She understood the theory, but could she get her arms around the reality that her son was to be the savior ofIsrael? This little being she held cradled to her breasts held the salvation of the world within him, and yet he seemed so beautifully ordinary.
Twenty-three years ago I held my first born daughter, and I thought she was anything but ordinary. In my mind she was a perfect miracle. My very first thought was that she looked exactly like her father (still does in a very feminine way). As Mary tried to determine whose features Jesus had did she wonder if he looked exactly like his Father? How extraordinary this ordinary moment must have become. This is the answer to my hesitantly asked question. Overwhelmed by the enormity and immensity of the child she was beholding I think she knelt.
As we continue in this holy season may we ask ourselves two questions: are we kneeling and do we look like our Father?