“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
  darkness does not have the final say!
If only you could hear my house now, Mary. My boys are bouncing off the walls after ingesting WAY too much sugar.  We made sugar cookies caked in frosting and sprinkles and even more colored sugar in anticipation of a big jolly man descending down our chimney.  They are also making a birthday cake for your Son soon.  It seems we can’t get enough sugar during this time of year.  It’s how we Americans celebrate everything apparently.  Once a year, I tell myself…
How very different this day was so very many years ago. I always think of you. Go back to you. Amidst the noise, the busy, many of our traditions that have nothing to do with you, your journey, or the Son of God (donkey riding?  could that be a thing?). Because this time of year, I often feel a little lost in a world that seems so very foreign and so very not home to a girl like me…
and I wonder, often, if you ever felt like that…  in this heart place I wander to…
I can’t imagine all of the emotions that swirled around in your heart and mind like volcanoes and tornadoes and anything likened to natural disasters of any kind (which is the shape my heart and mind often take) — utterly terrifying and yet breathtaking and awesome at the same time.  Warriors of light appearing and declaring things.  I mean really, there you are just minding your own business and then — out of nowhere — brilliant angels!  The scandal that had to revolve around you, the terrible lies and accusations that must have been in your face — day after day, after day.  I know that treachery of people.  How afraid you must have been.  How alone you must have felt.  And yet, how incredibly chosen, how incredibly loved, and how incredibly in awe of this great miracle that was about to happen — that WAS happening — there — inside of you.  And the immense responsibility of carrying, loving, nurturing, raising — ALL THE THINGS — all the things very big and very small that motherhood is — that tiny baby to boy.  It breaks me down every.single.time — because being a mother — it’s the most of everything you will ever feel or do from your innermost insides to your outermost outsides — just for us regular girls bearing regular human type babies.  But you, dear Mary — you — you were the Mother of the Son of God.
And all that was to take in!!!   Seriously.  I just can’t.  I mean, I KNOW how emotional and spent and chaotically frazzled I was to just find out I was having a baby.  One little human being that was growing in me — BAM!!!!! It rocked me.  And everything I did from there on out — every breath I took, every thing I drank, ate, if I did or didn’t exercise, if I was stressed, if I was zen, every single thing I did and choice I made — ten years down the road they could trace it back to the vitamins I took in utero and if I listened to enough Mozart when my little guy was three months growing, if I hovered, if I didn’t hover…  So many things, right? And there you were, just doing your God growing thing.  Wow.
And I know you had the greatest Father in all this.  Really.  No one better.  But still.  It had to be slightly intimidating.  Just the Son of God, right? Just the One who was going to save the entire world.  Just the rescuer of all humanity.  No pressure.  But I’m projecting MY self on to you.  Let’s talk about your faith.
YOUR FAITH!  Virgin, pregnant, riding on a donkey (just seriously think about that being nine months preggers for two secs, okay?), again with the angels, no room in the inn, sure I’ll have a baby in a smelly barn and put him in a manger, wise men visiting, ALL of it!  And there was no Prozac.  There was no Xanex.  There wasn’t even any Tylenol.  I would have needed all of it!
Virgin Mary and Joseph having a baby.  You KNOW that went over well back in the day.  So there’s THAT too.  Mary, so brave.  And while I can surely give credit to Joseph for sticking with her and not divorcing the girl all of a sudden pregnant no thanks to him — this girl was the one that was shamed, ridiculed and more than likely maliciously talked about.  Joseph may have gotten the “good ole boy” rounds of  — ‘wow, such a great guy to marry a girl who’s knocked up with someone else’s kid — and can you believe this ‘Son of God’ story she’s sticking with? — Come on!’  Or at least that’s how I imagine it.  I don’t think men have changed all that much since sandal wearing days.  She gets full credit now, holy Mary mother of God, but I’m thinking back then in the very immediate NOW of things —  it probably was a very different story for this very young, pregnant not by her husband girl.  Brave.  So very brave in her faith.  Talk about courage!  Just take this all in for a minute.  REALLY take it in…
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the holy one to be born will be called the Son Of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be as you have said to me.” Then the angel left her.
Luke 1:34-38
Brave.  So very brave in her faith.  That right there?  Kind of thinking I might have flaked…
I know there are many people that get all bent out of shape at the deification of Mary.  I’m not saying she IS God.  We serve one of those.  But I’m saying it is pretty amazing to stop and think about her journey for just a moment while we sit here and take this entire Christmas story in, one that IS our story and journey as well — as women and as mothers and as daughters of God.  If it doesn’t move your heart, like make it leap out of your chest, break or burst or squeeze it just a little — take a look at this girl again.
Only for the reason that it might inspire you.  She so incredibly moves me…
fire in her soul and grace in her heart
Oh how she lived her faith–that acting and living and verb thing called faith!  It moves me to tears, and I seriously can not wait to meet this woman in heaven some day.  I can’t wait to hug her and love on her and hear all about her story.  Because what.a.story!  And it is hers — hers alone.  She didn’t have to believe.  She could have told the angel to go away.  She could have been too afraid.  She could have thought the entire thing ridiculous.  She could have simply not wanted to or been up to the challenge.  But she didn’t.  She hung on for the ride.  For the ride of her life.  And God blessed her.  And she treasured her moments.  She stepped out of her comfort zone and some very stringent rules of the day that applied to her as a woman, and she said yes to faith and yes to God’s adventure.  She chose God’s yes for her life.  And I deeply, so deeply love, all of those precious things about her!
She did hard.  She did real.  She did humble.  She did crazy.  She did the unexplainable.  And she didn’t care if anyone else understood.  She understood that God held the plans for her life.  God held her perfect story.  And I know she wasn’t perfect — only for the reason that I am human too.  But God’s plan for her was.  And she was also the Momma of God’s Son.  And I KNOW that no other woman can say that.  And I bet she has some amazing stories to share, don’t you think?
So I think of Mary so deeply as she is so innately a part of this CHRISTmas story we come to over and over again this time of year, yes?  And in a way, she carries me through this wanderlust I feel — this need for ‘home’ that I always seem to be missing.  Oh, I love this earth gig.  I do.  My beautiful boys, my family, my friends — I wake up every morning to make something better and do something good — and I fully realize what a gift that is.  I know that, just as that light shone over that stable so many years ago bursting and brimming with glorious radiance saying “He’s here! He’s here!” — we must also shine and shine and shine that love and sparkle that points the way to Jesus.  And I live and breathe to do that.  All the easy and hard that is.  But I also have a heart that hurts and is very well aware that all of this — well, it’s really not this girl’s permanent dwelling space.  I’m just not comfortable here.  Never have been and never will be.  I know who my Father is.  And sometimes that pang — that ouch — I’m so acutely aware of it.
And although I’m not bearing the Son of God, that — praise God and halleluiah!!!!! — was done for us thousands of years ago — I am here to bring his message.  That is my mission, if I chose to accept it.  And I do.  I SO do — otherwise, there really is no reason for me to be here taking up space on this planet.  I’m here to point the way to Him.  And I CAN be like Mary.  Or at least I can try, by the GRACE of our almighty God I can try.  Because here’s the thing I think we forget when we’re reading our Bibles (or at least I NEED to remember) — that ole timey stuff is still real.  It’s still very relevant.  Like, right.this.very.second.  That Holy Spirit?  Still as kicking as ever — inside every Christian.  And what POWER, what LIGHT, what amazing PEACE and WISDOM can be found in his presence!  By the power of the Holy Spirit (you know that old line, right?) — who is a part of God  — PEOPLE, WE HAVE A PART OF GOD LIVING INSIDE OF US!!!!!  Again, blows my mind every time.  Still freaks my kids out a little, but man oh man — it’s just plain awesome!  A part of the divine lives.in.us.  Wake up every single day and live that.  Really live that!  It should change us!  It should challenge the living everything out of us!
And Mary inspires me to do this.  This entire story, this picture of donkeys and stables and stars and shepherds and wise men — this whole bit we talk about every December…  It all happened.  Unlike the mystical magic in your heart idea of Santa coming down the chimney — as beautiful and wonderful as that all is — this.is.real.  This is our forever.  And this power, this ever loving amazing power, it’s every single day real.  As real as the breakfast you ate this morning (it’s okay if it was a cookie).  And if a sixteen year old virgin girl back in Roman times can have such faith and persistence in such circumstances — Lord help me if I can’t.  And, don’t worry, he will.  Because there will be days…
“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:16-19
And that is what I do.  I ponder and treasure you, along with our savior, my Mary.  God chose you to begin his great Rescue story.  A girl.  Just a girl.  But what a girl you were.  What.a.girl.
Merry Christmas, everyone.  He was born.  He IS with us.  This Emmanuel.  This redeemer of all.  That started out just like us.  The incredible story.  That is OUR story.  The incredible miracle.  That is OUR miracle.  The incredible promise that we would never be alone again.  The power that is ours — the divine that is in our hearts — that should give us pause to humbly walk in love for Him every single day of our lives.
Mary, did you know…
Yes, yes, I think she just may have had some idea…
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10 NLT
shine as lights

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