I’ve been thinking about Mary a lot lately. We know the bare facts about her and the things that took place in her life but we don’t know much of who she was or what made her tick. It’s thought that she was a teenager when she was betrothed to Joseph and we know from the gospel accounts that she was a virgin. We do know though that she was faithful and obedient. It must have been a terrific shock when the angel appeared to her and told her what was going to happen yet she says “Let it be to me as you have said”. Was it because she was special that God chose her? Partly so because we are all unique and carry our own strengths and weaknesses but the main point was she was willing. Throughout bible times God has chosen some very unlikely, human people to do His will but the main thing they have in common is their willingness. Some had to be made willing first but even so they all seem to have been able to see the bigger picture. To see the world beyond themselves and their own times.
So despite Mary’s incredulity “How can this be that my Lord should come to me?” she was willing. She must have been painfully aware of the wider implications of her yes. She faced the possibility of Joseph disowning her and being an outcast from her own family. Even though those times were vastly different from the times we live in I am sure she wouldn’t have been the first teenager to get pregnant in mysterious circumstances!
Her betrothal to Joseph meant Jesus would have been born of the line of David as prophesied in scripture. She must have faced the worry of being believed when she came out with this narrative of an immaculate conception. If it wasn’t for the times God has worked miracles in my life would I believe it either?
The song in the title is all about Mary and exactly how much she was aware of before and after the birth of Jesus. As a mother myself I know I would do anything to keep my children from harm. Each day I face decisions pertaining to their safety and how much freedom to give them. Did Mary always know that Jesus faced an agonising death at the age of 33 to save His people from their sin? And if she knew how could she bear it? Surely it would colour every interaction they had? Was she ever able to just enjoy Jesus being a baby? That lovely time just after they are born. That afterglow. Some call it the babymoon. Poor Mary didn’t even get to enjoy that in peace. First she was heavily pregnant, then riding on a donkey feeling every jolt and bump along the road, then the anxious rush to find somewhere to even have her baby. Then after Jesus is born in a very modest way, strange visitors arrive with gifts for Jesus and to worship Him.!
She must have been aching and weary and wanting privacy yet she had to be on show, in front of kings. Part of me thinks Mary must have known from the beginning what was to happen but like a lot of things knowing something and enduring it are totally different. We know she had other children and they must have been a comfort to her along with Joseph but how did she not just lay down and die when Jesus was on the cross? Surely her heart was breaking within her? She knew it must be so yet how could she let it be? Simply because she had no choice.
Imagine though her delight when Jesus rose from the dead and they were united again, for a time.
She was obviously a remarkable woman.
Till next time.