Yesterday I had the privilege to speak at another MOPS group – again let me acknowledge what an absolute joy it is to be among Mothers, especially Preschool Mothers. When I speak to other MOPS group, I typically speak on Recognizing, Recording and Remembering; using Mary, Jesus’ Mother’s treasured moments. Speaking of Mary at Christmas time is very appropriate as everywhere we are surrounded by images of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus.
Mary, was a teenager, probably even younger than my almost 16 year old daughter. She was pregnant, which is hard to endure especially towards the end, she was away from home with her newlywed husband and I imagine that she was unsure of many things. Most pregnant women are – we wonder if we will be able to endure the pain of the birth, if we will know how to care for our baby, we wonder if we will be able to get up in the night when we are so very weary – there are so many emotions and questions. Probably, we wonder most if we will actually love our baby as much as we have seen other Mothers love their babies – it all seems so unimaginable when we are preparing for birth. And young Mary, so far from home, away from her mother (who would have helped her through the delivery and learning to be a mother) was very aware that her baby was very special, the Son of God and she was chosen among all women to be His Mother.
I am so thankful that Mary’s experiences were told to Luke (either by herself or by someone who heard them from her). I can read in the first chapter of Luke how she responded when the angel first visited her… Luke 1:35 “I am the Lord’s servant, ” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.”, and Mary’s words of wonder and praise when she and Elizabeth (her cousin, who was also experiencing a miracle pregnacy with John, The Baptist) first saw each other … Luke 1:48-49 My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — Holy is His name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation.”
The night that Mary gave birth is also told in Luke. It is so interesting how all Mothers can remember each detail of their birth stories as if it just happened – and retell it. Mary is no different as she told her story to either Luke or someone who told Luke. I am sure that she left out many of the “women details” of the birth, as only women really understand birthing stories. There have been so many times when I have been in a group of women, MOPS or women my own age, and we begin to share our birthing stories with amazing details, often more detail than the rest want to hear, but to us – each detail is remembered and valued.
Luke did record a very important detail of Mary’s experience and that is of the Shepherds visit. Poor, dirty, smelly Shepherds were the ones who received the angel’s announcement of the Savior’s birth. If I had been orchestrating the Public Relations of Christ’s birth, I would have announced it to royalty, powerful church and political leaders – not a few uneducated, lowly shepherds whose only influence was over a herd of sheep. But God’s ways are never like mine – and these Shepherds believed the news and said to themselves … Luke 2:15 “Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” And so they came, and saw for themselves the Christ Child and they spread the news concerning what had been told to them about the birth of this Savior (Luke 2:17). The visit from the lowly shepherds would have made Joseph & Mary feel comfortable as they were poor people themselves and would have been more at home with a visit from shepherds than priests. Again this speaks to me that God does not do things my way for reasons I can’t comprend; His plan is always best as I can’t see the big picture.
But, most interesting to me is the verse that all Mothers can relate to … Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” A special recognizable moment for a young teenage mother, far from her home, in a dirty animal stable, with unkempt men (whom she did not know) visiting her baby in the middle of the night. She tucked these memories away for herself and for all generations, including us.
Treasured moments to ponder and remember. I believe that Mary had to draw upon this treasured memory as well as the other time scripture tells us that she treasured a moment (see Luke 2: 41- 51). God knew that one day Mary would be standing at the foot of the cross. This cross would be the tool by which her firstborn son would die, and she would be in such turmoil wondering what God was doing – had she misunderstood His promise? She was to be the mother of a King, held up above all women – her son was to rule forever and His kingdom was to never end. None of what has happening would have made any sense. I believe that she had to remember her treasured moments to remind her of how God had worked in the past – how He had spoke, how He had lead ~ how faithful He had been in her life. She had found His promises to be true in the past -could she trust God even with this? Of course, we know how the events unfolded – how her son came back from death to provide for us an eternal relationship with God. He was the blameless sacrifice, the way to a relationship with our Heavenly Father. But at that moment, as she stood at the foot of the cross, she could not see how this could end for good ~ all she knew was how God had worked in the past in her treasured memories she had tucked away ~ and she could try to trust that God would work out His plan once again.
Treasured, pondered memories of a Mother – so precious and valuable, recorded that even now we can read about them. And God has given each of us treasured memories of His faithfulness in our lives to ponder and remember when we can’t make sense of the struggles in our lives.
Psalm 105:5 Remember the wonders He has done ….