This year my mom bought our family one of those kid-friendly manger scenes. I’ve always wanted to get a special, grown-up manger scene but for now, the plastic cartoon people set just works for us. I surprised the kids by having it out when they came home from school and my younger son yelled, “A God house! Did God bring us that?”
For some reason they were especially hung up on which animals didn’t make the cut. My oldest is so skilled at asking very specific questions and you cannot get away with handing out average, generalized answers.
Me: Who wants a cookie?
Always good to quit while you’re ahead.
As the kids were busy integrating forgotten animals into the manger scene, I picked up Mary and stared at the figurine in my hand. It almost seemed odd how predictable and normal her plastic painted smiling face was because the story of Mary is anything but predictable and normal. There’s a lot to say about her and how God chose a young, unmarried virgin to carry out his plan to bring a Savior into the world. Her story is one that, for me, embodies everything the Gospel is: unexpected. This month I read through the She Reads Truth Advent study: Oh Come Let Us Adore Him. For more on Mary check it out here at shereadstruth.com.
I don’t know when this started happening but this Christmas season I realized I just can’t make it through the song “Mary Did You Know” without getting some degree of emotional. The lyrics ask Mary if she knew all that Jesus would be and everything he would do: healing the sick, calming the storm, walking on water, ruling the nations. It’s like the perfect soundtrack for a slideshow of His life. While these may be the moments that highlight his power and authority, I can’t help but wonder if she thought about the pain that was ahead. The weight that her baby would have to bear as a man. That in the end, he would take upon himself the sin of the world. Although she was told and believed him to be the Messiah, I wonder if Mary from the manger would even recognize the Mary standing at the cross.
The verse that always resonates in my mind when I think of her at the birth of Jesus is from Luke 2:19.
It doesn’t say, “Mary heard everything they were saying and tried to make sense of it. She had a TON of questions.”
No. She treasured and pondered. I don’t think this means she bottled up her emotions and stuffed them away out of fear. I think it means she trusted God enough to rest in that moment and not move to the next stage. She took the moment to soak in all that had been said about her brand new baby.
I like talking and verbally processing and if you don’t believe me ask my husband. It takes great effort for me to discipline myself to consider and treasure and ponder without working through it. One definition of pondering said, “to quietly reflect.” Let’s just say that doesn’t come naturally to me.
Before I start to show how very true this is, all that needs to be said is that I want to see more of Mary’s character in my own reflection. More considering. More humility. Less analyzing and breaking things down and mapping it out and more obedience and reverence to the God who calls me forward. A quiet strength that doesn’t have all the answers in front of her but follows in faith because she believes God is who He says He is. To know that whatever I can’t fully understand may not be revealed in my lifetime but to stay the course anyway. To take one step forward even if all the steps after that are still unclear. To rest in the joy of the moment even if trouble may be ahead.
This may not be a new revelation but in the character of Mary I am reminded to see the beauty and value of being reflective and still even in uncertainty. To be present in the joy of that same Savior Mary held in her arms.
Fewer Deeper is a ministry of Re:source Global, a 501c3 ministry. For more information on Re:source Global please go to www.resourceglobal.org.