“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” – Luke
It wasn’t until I was pregnant with our second child, our only son, that I truly thought about Mary the mother of Jesus. Contentedly patting my growing belly in what happened to be the advent season, I caught sight of a tiny infant hand and immediately pictured a pierced hand instead. Months later, as I kissed the crown of my tiny boy, I couldn’t help but imagine a crown of thorns instead. And for the first time, I saw the story of our Lord through the eyes of a mother…a mother who deeply loved her son. Having grown up a believer in Jesus Christ, the story of Jesus’ miraculous birth didn’t seem that miraculous simply due to the fact that I had heard it so many times. I never thought about Mary and what must have been the most terrifying, wonderful, mysterious, and intimate experience of her life. Mary was chosen by God to carry His only and unique Son. By taking on this tremendous task, she would embark on a journey of daily faith that stretched her and even tainted her in the world’s eyes.
We see in the second chapter of Luke (2:19) that Mary treasured up God’s words in her as she carried His Word: Jesus Christ…her son, but more importantly, His Son. Mary faithfully took on social shame for eternal glory because her Father equipped her to be able to bear His Word, both as the baby she expected and as the future Savior of whom she never dreamed. As most of us embark upon the most sanctifying years of our lives (ahem, toddlerdom), Mary must have seen daily evidence of God in her son, a son who needed no correction. His miraculous birth continued into a miraculous childhood as well. By the wedding in Cana, Mary already intuitively knew that if she asked her Son, He could and would change water to wine because she already had had a glimpse of His nature. Thus, by the time of His death, like the disciples, she must have been devastated, stunned to see what would become of her beloved son.
So again, I return to the image of a hand. Not a tiny one this time, but rather a divine hand that did not spare His own Son….and a mother’s hand bound to release her beloved son. I see my own two hands and the many things to which I clutch, not the least of which are the children I bore. Like Mary, I must set my eyes upon the Lord, and I must choose to treasure His word in my heart. Doing those two things, I open my hands, knowing that, like Mary, I am but a vessel through whom the Lord has blessed to do a piece of His work. And, like Mary, the only way to let go of my own perceived sovereignty is to rest in His.