Monday, December 24, 2012
25 Days of Christmas Presence-Day 24-- Mary
I remember that season as if it were a dream. I wonder sometimes if I have remembered it correctly or if the dream has been dyed by my own slant interpretations. But, no, that is one thing I know I do well—I hold tightly to details. I understand how they are woven together like my linens.
I am old now. I was young then. Just a girl. I have been considering what to tell you. I could tell you about the angel coming to me, I could tell you about my flight to the protection and safety of Elizabeth, I could tell you about the horrible moment when I had to tell Joseph news I knew he would not understand, I could tell you about the months between when I endured the hissing whispers at the well, I could tell you about the journey to Bethlehem and the events that took place—all these events were important and you know those parts of our story, but none of them are the one for tonight.
One night I sat on the roof of the tiny house we rented in Bethlehem. It was warm, way too warm to be inside. My son was only a few weeks old and I sat with him on a pallet to catch the breeze. He lay on my chest. Such a tiny little boy. He fit on the torso of me—curled tightly. It was his favorite place. Mine too, if I had allowed anyone to know. I remember looking down at that tiny face and being enthralled. All the events of the past year played out in my head.
I rubbed by hand over his fuzzy capped head. And it was then, in that short space of time, that I came to a full realization of what or rather who I held. I almost dropped him. He almost slid from my arms as the revelation swelled inside me. My hand trembled as I tentatively placed it on his narrow back to readjust him.
Shouldn’t this have dawned on me sooner, you ask? Back when the angel Gabriel came to me? Back when John leapt in Elizabeth’s womb or when the wise men came and bowed here before my son only a few days ago? Shouldn’t I have known? No, I had to ponder and hide these things in my heart. I have to mull and stew.
And in the stillness on the roof, in that quiet moment it dawned on me with a clarity so piercing I felt it.
My son. My son is the Son of God. Gabriel said God’s favor was one me, but what in the world am I doing? Who am I to be the mother of deity? What child is this and what can I give him? What can I teach him? What in the world am I going to do?
These questions rolled over me like a wave. And I panicked.
But on the end of the wave came the voice of God. I had heard it before; I recognized it. Jesus stirred and sighed in my arms as if he could hear it too.
You teach him what you know, Mary. You explain and demonstrate to him the dailyness of life. You teach him about bread and yeast, about mustard seed and fruit trees, about lamps and lamp stands. This is what you will teach him, Mary.
I shook my head. What absurd things to be teaching the Son of God. These were the mundane things of life. I did not understand. I thought Jesus would need to be sitting at the feet of great masters and the best rabbis in the village. I thought he needed far, far more than I could give him.
But the instructions of the Almighty God kept whirring in my ears. And I obeyed. Every chance I got I included this son of mine in my tasks and chores. We walked through fields and I showed him the flowers and talked to him about their beauty and how they were gifts to us. I drew water from the well and let him drink from the gourd and watched it dribble down his chin. I attempted to explain the precious necessity of water to him.
I always pondered how these little lessons would ever be of any value to this Son of God I had birthed. I just didn’t understand, but I decided I didn’t have to. I just needed to do what had been asked of me.
I am old now. And my Son is no longer with me. He is with his Father. But I have heard his teachings. I have seen Luke and Matthew’s accounts about my boy. And when I read and hear the truths he taught using the common things he learned at my side I am humbled and stunned and pleased.
We just never know what the Almighty is going to use to reveal himself to his people, do we? We never quite understand what he will do to bring us into His Presence.
For me it was the quiet, steady breathing of a tiny baby boy.