I was not prepared for motherhood. I had babysat a handful of times and changed as many diapers. I first held a newborn a year before I would hold my own. Despite my lack of experience when it came to babies, I really wasn’t taken off guard by many things that motherhood entailed. However, I did find myself shocked at the raw emotion motherhood produced. That moment I held my first daughter in my arms I felt emotion like I’d never before experienced. Love and joy mixed with fear and responsibility and awe.
Beneath the twinkling lights, the warm glow of manger scenes and sparkling family get-togethers, lurks a sinister problem that has stalked mankind since the fall. A problem that was altered with the birth of one humble mother’s first Child. Mary, the mother of our Savior, is given more pages in Scripture than any other mother, and it is in her emotion that my view of Christmas has forever changed.
From Mary’s quiet acceptance that she would bear the promised Messiah (Luke 1:38), to her beautiful Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55) it is clear that this simple girl recognized and understood the immensity of the circumstances surrounding her first Child. Though she likely didn’t understand how her Child’s life would be lived, or how He would redeem our fallen race, she observed it all and meditated on it.
There’s no doubt on the night our Savior was born that His mother instantly loved Him, but the details of His birth puzzled her. She gave birth to the Messiah in a barn, and then common shepherds came to worship her tiny Son. Yet, she treasured these memories (Luke 2:19). They were the details surrounding her first Child’s birth, and like any mother, they were treasures.
A few short weeks later she and Joseph brought their tiny Son to the temple. Here they were met by Simeon, who was anticipating their arrival. Simeon gathered the Child in his arms and praised the Lord. (Luke 2:22-32). He then turned to Mary and pronounced some of the most poignantly beautiful words in Scripture, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” In these words all of redemption is so beautifully summed. This tiny baby would be surrounded by upheaval. He would suffer, and the suffering would wound her as well. She was His mother, and the price of redemption would hurt her mother’s heart. Yet, all this suffering would produce a “rising of many”. This suffering would bring forth redemption.
Thirty-three years later Mary found herself at the foot of a Roman cross. Her Son was hanging in agony between two common criminals. The crowds jeered and mocked her Son. In His anguish He noticed her. He protected her and provided for her earthly needs by asking John to care for her. (John 19:25-27) He bore the weight of the sin of all humanity on His shoulders, but He still cared for His mother. She watched as her Son died, paying the ultimate price. In order to speed up the crucifixion process a Roman soldier broke the legs of the criminals. When the soldier came to her Son he saw Jesus was dead and instead of breaking His legs, he pierced a sword through the heart of her Son. In that moment I’m sure the words of Simeon came back “a sword will pierce through your own soul also, so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.” Her mother’s heart was broken, but redemption was purchased.
Jesus would resurrect – securing victory, and weeks later we see the final mention of Mary in Scripture. She is praying with Christ’s followers in the upper room. (Acts 1:14) It was now clear what her Son’s purpose was. The treasured memories she had pondered over the years, the pain that she had endured as she watched Him rejected and ultimately killed now had purpose. The purpose was salvation and she would further her Son’s mission to the best of her ability.
Christmas is my favorite time of year. I love the decorations, the songs, and the anticipation of my children as they think of their presents. As I have meditated on the birth of Christ from Mary’s perspective there’s a somberness to all the celebration. This tiny Child was born, but He was born to die a cruel death. A death that cost Him the very presence of His Father and a death that would hurt His mother’s heart, because that is the price of sin. But, it’s also in this birth we find true beauty – the beauty of redemption. This Christmas let’s remember the perspective of Mary. Her excitement at the arrival of her first born, but also the anticipation of what awaited her Son as He would sacrifice all to save a fallen race.
How are you applying this perspective to you Christmas preparations? Let us know in the comments. If you are receiving this in your email click here to leave a comment.