Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Identifying with Mary's Heart

It's Christmastime!  This year has been special because for the last few years we have been out of the country leading up to Christmas and not able to see how the mood of the country changes around this time of year.  It's been so heartwarming to feel the season changing (even though in Florida it's still unseasonably toasty), see the Christmas lights going up, hear Christmas music playing on the radio, etc.  And this Christmas has been extra special because I find myself identifying even more closely with a special someone involved in the Christmas story...

For so many years at Christmastime, I would hear those ever popular Christmas tunes on the radio or at church:  Mary Did You Know?, Breath of Heaven (my personal favorite), Away in a Manger, Silent Night...and I would imagine what Mary must have been feeling like.  She must have been exhausted, uncomfortable...maybe she still had some lingering nausea, her feet were probably swollen...I imagine that donkey ride was none too fun at 40 weeks pregnant!  But this year, I know first hand what she was feeling beyond the scope of her "pregnancy symptoms"...

I know that she was imagining what her sweet baby Jesus was going to look like.  She was envisioning kissing those adorable baby toes, anticipating the smell of that intoxicating baby smell radiating from the top of his downy little head.  She was looking forward to those quiet moments just she and Jesus while he slept in her arms and she looked down at his peaceful face deep in dreamland.  She imagined what his hopes and dreams would be.  She wondered if she would be able to be the mother that he deserved.  She was looking past the pain of labor and delivery...she was probably often even looking past the fact that she was carrying the Son of God...because at the core of her she was a mother.  She was HIS mother.  And the implications of that were enough in and of themselves...

Before now, Christmas was an intense time of longing for me.  Much like Mother's Day, Christmas always reminded me that I wasn't quite there yet.  And it equally drummed up that longing in my heart that could only be filled with Motherhood.  I desperately wanted to know what Mary was really feeling.  What she was really thinking?  I would put my hand on my belly often and imagine what it would be like to be pregnant during Christmas...knowing I was celebrating the birth of Christ while simultaneously celebrating Christ's power in me through the creating of life inside my own body.  How badly I wanted that to be a reality!

So here I am...in 2014...and when I put my hand on my belly now I feel MY baby moving inside my body.  I listen to his beating heart on Doppler and marvel at the sound of Greysen's steady 156 heartbeat muddled with the sounds of my own.  When I listen to Breath of Heaven now, I can identify with Mary's pleading with Heaven to equip her with the skills she needed to bring Jesus into this world, to care for him, to raise him, and to love him unconditionally.  When I listen to Mary Did You Know?, I know that she knew.  She knew that being a mommy was a call to something greater than herself.  And whether she truly grasped who this baby was going to be or not, simply knowing the gravity of what it meant to be a mother was pivotal enough, don't you think?

In a year from now, Jonathan and I will be watching the wonder in our own baby's eyes when he sees Christmas lights for the first time, we will watch him crawling around our Christmas tree all decorated and lit up, he will peacefully sleep (hopefully!) through a quiet Christmas Eve service all snuggled up in my arms, we'll get to take pictures of him on Santa's lap.  We are so excited about what Christmas 2015 is going to be like!  But for Christmas 2014, I will sit quietly as often as I can and conjure up the imagine of Mary and her swelling baby bump when I place my hand on my own.  When I sing those tunes on Christmas Eve, they will have new meaning.  Greysen is my little piece of Heaven right now...God's power and perfection inside of me...the gift of LIFE that for so many years I wondered if I'd ever receive.  And here he is.  Closer to me than he'll ever be in my life or in his.  So I'm marveling at my favorite Christmas present this year...my growing baby boy!  And I'm thanking God that this year, I can truly identify with Mary and her heart.  I'm forever grateful that my Mommy heart is not longing this year.  It is full and overflowing!

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