Mickey Mouse chocolate chip pancakes (blue and pink at that!), homemade biscuits with sausage gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, coffee, orange juice, white grape peach juice… what more could you want? Yesterday morning our dear Tiff fixed us breakfast. Having just had minor surgery Thursday to get a port-a-catheter put in (no more icky IV’s!), I sat on my great recliner throne and watched the commotion in my kitchen through my percocet induced stupor. It was the highlight of my week to watch all the goings on. The boys were thrilled with every drop of batter poured onto the griddle and had to be monitored closely to keep from covering every inch of pancake with chocolate chips. Audrey, who has been clingy since my hospital stay, attached herself to Brian, sucking her thumb (something else she started up again while I was in the hospital) and enjoyed the chaos from the safety of Daddy’s arms. Christmas music was playing, the lights were twinkling, and there was a cheerful busyness in the kitchen. Our home was warm and full of life. Watching my children yesterday brought a sparkle into a difficult few weeks. There is nothing like the life and delight a child brings.
I read this morning about Mary. Can you imagine her life? A teenage girl betrothed to a man probably far older than she. She is visited by an angel who tells her that she is going to divinely bear the Savior of the world. What? How? Who? Why me? Yet she bows in complete submission knowing that nothing is impossible with God.
What a road Mary has ahead of her. Her journey is not an easy one. She has to undergo the doubts of her fiance about her pregnancy. Shame is probably thrown into her face at every turn. I’d bet she was the subject of gossip in the Galilean community. She undergoes all the struggles of nine months of pregnancy. Do you think she had morning sickness, sciatica, discomfort? Just because her conception was divine, she was still a woman, and I’m sure she endured the humanness of pregnancy. Traveling during pregnancy is not easy at any stage, but this woman rode a donkey for miles when she was great with child. She arrived in Bethlehem and was turned away from an inn and given a cave to sleep in.
I wonder what went through her mind when the pangs of childbirth began in that dark, dank, smelly stable. I wonder if she experienced that butterfly feeling in her stomach of excitement mingled with fear. What will it be like to give birth? How long with this take? How painful will this be? What if there are complications? What kind of mother will I be? How on earth am I going to care for an infant? And to top it off, she was the mother of God. No pressure there.
Mary gave birth, wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger. She was tired, sore, and scared, but at the same time, I’m sure she was delighted and in love with her son. I’ve wondered what went through her mind when the visitors began arriving. Strangers to her, shepherds who had heard of the birth of Christ through a band of angels, came to worship her son. Just imagine everything that was happening in her heart. I’m sure there was hurt and confusion and fear in her life. But I also know there was faith. Mary was expecting Christ to come. Her Messiah. Only she wasn’t expecting Him to come this way. God was going to change the course of human history–through her.
I love the Magnificat. I love the beauty of Mary’s song to her God. Mary knew the character of her God and she believed. Am I like Mary? I, too, have been visited by the Lord, and I carry Christ into the world. I long for her faith that stands firm in the midst of turmoil and confusion knowing that nothing is impossible with God. I long for her cheerful humility and her steadfast knowledge of the mercy of God. She understood who she was and she acknowledged how magnificent her God was. Her soul magnified God.
How does a soul magnify God? I magnify God with my lips through thanksgiving and praise. But no one hears my soul… that’s just me and God. I think magnifying Him with my soul means having that peaceful contentedness in the mercy of God. That peace comes from knowing Him and delighting in Who He is–Jesus, the baby born to be Savior and returning as King. Mary knew and understood this.
I’ve wrestled these past few days with grasping that Christmas is upon us. Having Brian do all the shopping and Tiff do all the wrapping has been hard. I long to be about my normal routine, not stuck in my bed or chair. I feel like I’m watching the season happen without me, even in my own home. But then I think about Mary. She had a long journey ahead of her, but she rested in Who her God was. She submitted humbly to His will. She rejoiced at the news of her Messiah born through her. She was awestruck at the salvation of the Lord.
I am learning this peace and this beauty as I watch my children bask in the glow of all the Christmas glory. They can’t wait to wrap their presents for each other. They are counting the minutes to the Christmas Eve service tonight. They are thrilled to spend time playing with their cousins on Christmas Day. Yes, they are excited to open presents, too. They love having Daddy home “forever” as Micah puts it. They are enjoying the life they have and aren’t caught up in how it’s “supposed to be”. I am learning much through my children and through Mary. One thing I share with Mary… that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. God gave us a wonderful gift 2000 years ago when the Child Who would be King was born, and God has given me three beautiful reminders to see every day. And as hard as life can be, there truly is nothing like the delight and life a child can bring.
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