Posted on | December 19, 2012 | 4 Comments
This time of year does something to me, ever since I became a mother.
I didn’t realize it until 2009, when J was just four months old, and I found myself sitting in a church pew on Christmas eve, bawling my eyes out while the minister read the Christmas Story. All of a sudden it hit me that thousands of years ago, a Savior wasn’t just born…. a woman became a mother. And she didn’t just become a mother… she became the mother of God.
Can you imagine?
Can you even imagine that?
To know for nine months that the child you’re carrying is destined to be crucified on a cross? That the child you’re carrying is destined to die, not of old age like we all so desperately hope for our kids, but in the prime of his life, stripped bare and beaten for being, quite simply, your child.
This time of year does something to me as a parent.
I feel such a strong kinship now, to that young woman so long ago that rode a bumpy, miserable road on a bumpy, slow-paced donkey, across the land of her birth while being nine agonizing months pregnant. I feel such a bond with the tears she must have shed as she looked around that darkened room where they would spend the night and realized that this would be where her child would be born. I feel so much love and tenderness towards her youth and inexperience and the fact that she may have labored alone with a husband who presumably knew nothing of childbirth and with her mothers and sisters so far away.
Who held her hand while she labored? Who placed a cool washcloth on her forehead when she became feverish with the waiting? Who counseled and cheered and pulled her along the long and labored path towards motherhood?
I don’t know the answers to those questions but every year at Christmas they spin around my brain and heart and leave me teary-eyed and breathless for the wide-eyed wonderment that must have been Mary’s when she held her tiny son…. her tiny son who was destined for something so terrible and so amazing that it must have hurt her to even look at his innocence.
I wonder if I could have been as strong as Mary… if I could have birthed the son of God, the Savior, that tiny, helpless, baby who was destined for greatness and marked for pain. I wonder if I could have held fast to my belief, held fast to my courage and my heart and not insisted that we run away, run far away from what lay ahead for him. I wonder if I would have been strong enough to teach my son about his Father, to help him reach the potential that would necessarily rip him, too young, from my arms.
I wonder a lot about Mary, about who she was and what she prayed at night when she closed her eyes. I wonder if her prayers were like mine, desperate pleas for safety and love and a long, long life stretching out before her son. I wonder if she hoped she was wrong, if she hoped the angel that came to her had been but a pregnancy-induced hallucination and that her sweet boy would be just that… a boy like any other.
Now, as a mother, the Christmas Story means so much more to me. It’s not just the story of the birth of Christ… it’s the story of becoming a mother. It’s the story of becoming a mother to someone so special that her heart must have exploded with the sheer force of her love. Because, after all, he was not just her son. He was so much more.
So this year, for Christmas, I wish you for you all to experience that overwhelming love of someone dear to you. I wish you all a season of peace and enchantment, full of wonder and awe and the sweet, sparkling eyes of children. As for me, I will gaze upon my own miracle, my own sweet son, and thank Mary for what she did on that long ago night, laboring through her fear, laboring perhaps alone, to bring forth a Son who would change so much for such a very long time and for so very many people.
Merry Christmas, and thank you, Mary… from one mom to another.