Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Last Post on Lessons Learned from Mary

On the eighth day, Jesus was circumcised. He had to fulfill the law from conception forward. When Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple for the dedication and Purification offering, they encountered two people, Simeon and Anna. Simeon prophesied over Jesus noting that some will rise and fall and that Gentiles will be enlightened. He blessed Mary and Joseph, and then looking at Mary said, a sword will pierce your own soul too. Knowing that Mary was a thinker, a contemplator, you know that she dwelled on his words for some time. God may not have told her everything before she became pregnant, but He did give her bits and pieces along the way to prepare her as best He could. Sometimes, though, we don’t understand or see all the ways He has prepared us until we look back on the journey because while Mary wasn’t pierced with the sword as Jesus was, as His momma, you know she had to have felt it too as she watched it happen. She also probably relived it in her nightmares.

Hearing Simeon’s words had to bring the momma bear out in Mary. How overwhelming it must have felt at times knowing she was responsible for raising the Son of God, protecting Him from those who wanted to harm him. Yes, she knew that God was protecting Jesus as well, but there is this fierce, internal instinct mommas have for their babies. They will fight to the death to protect them.

Then there was Anna. She must have been a relief to Mary. The sheer joy and delight in Anna’s face had to have been comforting. Anna doesn’t take the baby in her arms like Simeon did, but rather, she brings people to Jesus who need redemption. How many people have you brought to Jesus who need redemption?  I wrote on Anna’s sandals prior to Mary’s.

Joseph and Mary return to Bethlehem and move into a little house and start a life as a married couple. It’s only now that Joseph and Mary consummate their marriage. Excitement, nervousness – do you remember the first time you made love to your spouse? All those emotions and feelings wrapped together in an act of love designed by God. Joseph and Mary have already had to overcome so much, and waiting to be together made it that much sweeter. You know that Mary had to recount every little thing that Joseph had done for her and because of her and how he chose to follow God and lead Mary. Sweetness.

Life for Mary and Joseph get into a routine. I love routine. There’s comfort in it. You know what to expect. But routine doesn’t last forever. One night when Jesus is almost two years old, Magi show up on Joseph and Mary’s doorstep bringing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. These Magi were Gentiles, educated Gentiles who with all their learning and knowledge realized that salvation could come in the form of a baby.  Sometimes truth is as simple as that.

I don’t know how far back in Mary’s memory she had stored Simeon’s prophesy about her baby, but when the Magi arrive presenting gold (the gift for a king), frankincense (the gift for deity), and myrrh (the oil for death), I wonder if Simeon’s words came rushing back to her. Mary’s son was born with a death sentence hanging over his head, but Jesus would not stay in the tomb. You can’t put God in a box and you can’t put Jesus in a tomb and expect them to stay there. Hallelujah!

After the Magi leave and Joseph and Mary go to bed, Joseph has another dream. An angel of the Lord tells Joseph to get Mary and the baby and get out of there immediately.  Joseph wakes Mary, and they have to throw some things together quickly and flee Bethlehem. Have you ever thought about what you would grab if your house was on fire or if a tornado was coming in your direction? What would you grab? It’s so quick. You know Mary grabbed the gold, frankincense and myrrh. She grabbed Jesus’s clothes and probably a few of his favorite toys. But they wouldn’t be able to take everything. It’s just stuff anyway. They run and keep running until God tells them to stop.

At some point in time, Joseph and Mary hear what Herod did to those poor babies. I wonder if Mary thought she had escaped Simeon’s prophesy. I imagine she must have been heartbroken for those mommas and babies, and she may have felt guilt. She didn’t have time to tell them good-bye or ask them to come with Joseph and Mary. As women we sometimes take on more guilt and blame than is ours to claim.

I’m glad I took the time to study Mary. My heart feels for her. Being the mother of a young boy, I see him do things, and I wonder what he’ll be when he grows up. I see him spending time with his daddy learning how to hunt and fish and camp, and I know that Jesus learned from Joseph about carpentry. I love watching my husband show our son how to do a certain skill. He wraps his hands around our son’s and moves his body in the motion needed to complete the task. They repeat this scene until our son gets it and can do it on his own. How did Mary look at Jesus and Joseph? How do you raise children after Jesus and not compare them to the Son of God? Mary was up for it. She was chosen for it.

What has God chosen you to be? Are you following your husband’s leadership? Are you meditating on God’s Word? Slipping on Mary’s shoes leads you to putting your arms around Jesus, kissing his face, and following where God leads. Will you wear Mary’s shoes?

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