Silent night, Holy Night
All is calm, all is bright...
Two different Christmas seasons, twelve years apart... my Mary years. Two seasons of Advent holding a newborn close and thinking of the teenage virgin who said "yes" to God. How could one who holds Christ in their heart not think of Mary as they looked into the face of one so new?
My first such season, I found myself holding my daughter and watching her after she had gone back to sleep. Rocking her by the lights of the Christmas tree, touching newborn fingers and toes and running my fingers over tiny ears... and thanking God that this time we came home with a baby to hold after the heartbreak of a premature birth the previous year.
Twelve years later I was once again astonished by the little one I held, the surprise baby... the boy that made our family complete. I'd been told I probably could not have any more children but here he was. I'd always sensed there was someone missing from the table and that Christmas I once again counted tiny toes and fingers and smiled at wisps of red hair.
It is good that I know I will never understand God, my finite mind cannot comprehend the Infinite Creator choosing to grow inside the body of a young woman. One who belonged in a palace instead came in a manger surrounded by His own creation.
The angels could have announced His coming to Kings and Queens but instead it was chosen they would appear before the lowliest and most humble of the time... the shepherds at work guarding the sheep. From the very beginning He showed us He came for the least, the little, the last, and the lost.
What could Mary have thought when she held her infant son? Born in a time of trouble when all around them was the uncertainty of Roman occupation. The Bread which would be broken for us now born in the town named "House of Bread"... Bethlehem.
Both of those Christmas seasons I would read my Bible with the Christmas lights reflected in a corner of the room, thinking of the first Christmas and Mary. Wondering if she had any idea what was ahead. Pondering the changes in her life after saying "Yes" to God.
I'm certain there would always be whispers and unbelievers and a reputation ruined in the eyes of friends and relatives. I once read the statement that the only human on earth who knew it was a virgin birth was Mary. With certainty Elizabeth must have believed and been a friend to Mary. Joseph believed but not at first.
I pondered on the very young mother and what it was like as she raised her Son. Did she play tag with Him and sing Him songs and tell Him stories of times past? Did Joseph show Him how to use a chisel and a hammer? Did Joseph read from the Torah... the words to the Word?
There are many people I've met in the Bible with whom I would love to sit and talk over delicious tea (for I'm certain the tea of Heaven will be delightful). Mary is near the top of that list. I wonder if she would share how it was to be chosen the mother of the Lamb of God... or will she continue to ponder those things in her heart?