Ok so it might only be October and it might sound strange but I’m getting all excited about Christmas already!!
It’s got me thinking about something I wanted to write last Christmas but never got around to. So here it is…
Last Christmas season I gave birth to our son Caoimhin (pronounced Keevan). Everyone said the love you have for your children is overwhelming and I understood that but when I held our little boy in my arms, I realised how severely I underrated how strong that love would be. It blew me away and every day it grows.
Shortly after Caoimhin and I arrived home, we attended our church’s Carol Service. A lovely Christmassy event that most churches enjoy on a yearly basis. For me though, this one was very different to any other year in any other church…
I noticed that with every mention of Mary (Jesus’ Mum), in every carol, something tugged at my heart. It carried on until the point I was in tears – hormonal you may be thinking and probably yes – but this was something far more than that. This was the understanding of what Mary went through in trying to protect her son when they fled to Egypt, of what she felt when she lost him in Jerusalem, of when he was tortured and died on a cross. Of course I haven’t been through these things but to put myself in the shoes of a mother who naturally adored her son in the way I do mine, brought me to tears and a deeper understanding of Mary.
And yet over the coming weeks before Christmas, more carols were sung and Christmas films watched, my thoughts continued from those that began at that first carol service…
Mary’s experience of being a mother was a very different one to mine.
She knew Jesus was the Son of God, my Caoimhin is the son of Eric – certainly not God, (but pretty special). My overwhelming Mother’s instinct to protect my little man, even though I can’t imagine it, must pale in comparison to the protectiveness Mary must have felt over her little one – imagine the responsibility of bringing up God’s Son!
Eric and I have so many hopes for our baby (now 10 months old). Mostly that he will be healthy and happy and that he will love Jesus. Our little guy is so
special! But Mary knew that Jesus was way more than special. Imagine the hopes she had for Him! She knew that Jesus was the Messiah promised to the Jews, that He would bring peace to the world. She must have imagined grand things for Him when He grew up! And she was right! Imagine hearing that your son has incredible healing powers! That he raised people from the dead! That people all over were talking about Him and following Him! She must have been excited for Him and concerned too… The Bible says that at one point Mary and her other sons went to get Jesus when they were concerned things were getting out of hand. She wouldn’t have just heard of the amazing things Jesus was doing, but also of the stir He was causing among the Jewish leaders and quite possibly, eventually, to the Roman Empire. As a natural mother, she would have been afraid for Him and yet perhaps believing no harm could really come to Him considering who He was.
I can only imagine the overwhelming grief when Mary watched her 33 year old son suffer a very brutal, very public death. Now I’m a mother a lump reaches my throat every time I think of it. But Mary suffered in other ways too. I imagine complete confusion over the situation given her hopes for her son, perhaps some disappointment, maybe some doubt if not certain questioning of God (she was human after all). Certainly there would have been fear for her own life and the lives of her family and loved ones. Maybe there were feelings of failure that she did something wrong in His upbringing or that she failed to protect Him.
What and amazing experience it must have been for her to see her son resurrected, alive, after all that she had been through. What an awesome experience as she began to understand that God’s plan for Jesus had been far more than she could ever have imagined!
Mary truly was a remarkable woman!
I do wonder what she would think or say now about the way we respond to her son’s life, death and resurrection. I wonder what she would think about the way we love Him and the ways we disregard Him. I also wonder what she would think about the way people treat her today. What would she think to know that after all she went through bringing up her Jesus, seeing what He went through to make it possible for us to go straight to God and yet to find that many people attempt to get to God through her. What would she think seeing the awesome power of God in her life, her life that was so humble and always pointed to Jesus and the Father and yet to find that now, many worship her – sometimes even more than Him! I just wonder.
So that’s what I was thinking about last Christmas, or should I say who I was thinking about. It’s funny, I was just trying to work out how I was going to end this blog and then Caoimhin woke up. The smile he just gave me as I went in to him and the feel of his warm sleepy babyness in my arms was a great way to end my thoughts. There’s no verbalising it but I know all you Mummies know what I mean.