Thursday, December 15, 2011
Mary's Story For Me This Year
In some way or another, every Christmas I find myself stepping into Mary's sandals, wondering what it would be to conceive and birth the Son of God. Just like every other little girl's Christmas pageant dream, I coveted Mary's blue robe. As a thirteen-year-old girl listening to Mary's song, I remember putting my hand on my stomach, imagining Life inside. I envisioned the Mary-me saying, "Really, Dad, this is a virgin pregnancy, I promise!"
This year as I advent through this season, I've gathered up some more Mary thoughts and pondered them in my heart.
This year what strikes me about the Madonna is the transitions she went through to follow out this God breathed plan for her. Transitions - life uprooting, tear-jerking, hurry-pack-it transitions were a part of her story too. Nazareth cozy home. Three month hide away with Elizabeth. Bethlehem stanky stable. Red-eye flight to Eygpt. Life as the foreigner. Back home to Nazareth. Home now as a woman, a far cry from the girl that left on the back of a donkey.
Oh, for a glimpse into the daily blog of Mary during these years. Or to chat over chai, "How DID you do it?"
We have no blog. No papyrus journal. No Starbucks date. Just a few quotes and a song. But what richness in these small glimpses.
Sweet surrender to the overwhelmingly daunting. "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said."
This sweet surrender moves a troubled heart and fearful mind to boundless rejoicing and bold strength. Have you read Mary's song lately, I mean really read it? It makes you want to stand up and shout, "Preach it, Sister!" Gone is the timid girl with her water jar whispering "How can this be?"
Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Living in the now, not missing the wonder, she strung together the pearl of each gift, fingering each one gently. And when he cried out on the cross, "I am thirsty," she saw the infant nuzzling for her breast. She clutched those pearls, grasping through her searing pain the promise of Who He Is.
To me this year, the beauty in Mary's story is how God gave her just the pearl she needed, when she needed it most.
What did God deliver to her along with the rock-my-world-upside-down news of the immaculate conception? A kindred spirit, a fellow warrior, a someone-who-gets-me, an Elizabeth. When you think about it, there's really no logistical reason that John and Jesus had to be in utero at the same time. John could have been a few years older and prepared the way just fine. I think the dual pregnancies had nothing to do with the boys and all to do with the mamas. God knew the way he wired women to bond in pregnancy. Imagine bonding through super-natural pregnancies. God gave Mary the soul food of friendship, a companion who spoke blessing and joy and truth into Mary to bolster her through what was surely a lonely road ahead.
And then there was Joseph, that pearl of such worth. The partner, sustainer, the strong in my weak. Their hearts He made one, to walk this road through. With him she was more. This gift she let go of, in willing submission, He gave back to her with the joy of a Giver. There he'd be with her stringing pearl after pearl, living out life's messes and marvels.
God gave angel announced worshipers when she was probably lying exhausted in a pile of bloody stinking hay with a torn up old dress of a baby blanket, wondering, "REALLY? This is supposed to be the Son of God and he's entering the world like THIS??" (At least, that's what I would have thought.) But then to look up and see shining shepard faces, eyes all aglow with wonder and awe, voices all hushed, but bursting to shout. They clamor to tell of the sight they have seen, the symphony heard, the angel dust still falling from their shoulders. Mary breathes out a wobbly breath into the wisps of His still wet hair. Yes, yes. This is exactly how He's entering the world.
Just what she needed, all that she needed, these pearls He provided.