Through Mary’s Eyes

12142015_JenniferSchmidt_AbundantLife

“Oh Mom, I just love this magical time of year. It’s so cozy with lights and hot chocolate, Hallmark movies and our special family traditions . . .”

My heart warmed as I agreed with our youngest daughter, so when the Sunday school moderator questioned our mentor couple panel (me), “How do you keep the Christmas story fresh for your children?” I knew he didn’t mean, “Movie Countdown to Christmas.”

I’ve been convicted that if the Advent story isn’t fresh to me, how will it continue to come alive for our children?

{Join me as I ponder the Christmas story from a fresh perspective — Mary’s.}
{You may want to read it out loud.}

“I could not believe my father finally arranged it. It seemed too good to be true. Joseph, for me? I’ve heard he’s kind and gentle of heart, but out of all the girls in the village, I can’t believe he agreed to marry me, so yes, I’ve been doing a lot of daydreaming about my betrothed. Who wouldn’t?
 
All of a sudden, on an ordinary day, my whole life changed. One minute, I was doing the wash, thinking of the babies we’d have, imagining making our home with Joseph’s carpenter’s shop around back and the excitement in our children’s eyes the first time they’d see the Temple, when suddenly, the brightest light shone from the middle of my room. At first, I covered my eyes and hid my face from the being.
 
Then he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.’
 
‘Certainly you are talking to the wrong person, I am just a girl from Nazareth. You couldn’t possibly want me. Besides, I am a virgin. This is impossible!’
 
But it wasn’t a mistake. Me, a common girl, from the middle of nowhere, had been chosen by the most high God to bear the Promised Messiah. How can I even understand this honor? This is the king that all of Israel has prayed for and here I am — uncommon enough to bear the Messiah- God’s tool to deliver Israel?
 
My mind can’t grasp this. We all expected a military hero, a warrior, a rich king ruling a nation, and yet He’d arrive as a babe through my womb. Such a simplistic entrance for a king?
 
Oh no! What should I tell Joseph? My parents? They’ll never believe me. I don’t even believe it myself.
 
It’s been days since I first heard, and tears still stream down my face as I think of my parents reaction. I’ve brought shame to my family and I’ve shattered my poppa’s heart. His little girl no longer; he wouldn’t even believe me. Friends I’ve known since childhood won’t speak to me. I’ve been called horrible names I don’t understand and when I asked my momma what the words meant, she wouldn’t even look me in the eyes.
 
And Joseph, my dear Joseph. My body trembled as I watched the anguish on his face. Grief, then sadness, and ultimately betrayal tore through him as I recounted the angel’s story. I needed him to believe me, but he didn’t. That isn’t my story to tell, but ask Joseph about it sometime, it’s a good one.
 
Well, here I am now. I still can’t believe I made it all the way to Bethlehem nine months pregnant. I was so exhausted. My whole body ached from riding on that donkey and I’m sure that’s what started my pains. I just knew it was that time. I tried to ignore the fact that my family wouldn’t be around to help me. I desperately wanted my momma. Please, don’t tell Joseph that, but I was so scared he wouldn’t know what to do if we had complications. I couldn’t believe we’d welcome the Holy One amidst this mess.
 
But when Jesus finally came, I forgot all my worries.
 
As I looked down at my son, my Redeemer, I knew this child of promise would change the world. He had already changed me. I snuggled him close and rubbed my cheek against his soft, downy head. I inhaled deeply and couldn’t get enough of that newborn smell.  Yes, even amidst the filth, hay and cow dung odor, that little guy was perfect.
 
And then Joseph asked to hold him.  As those large, calloused carpenter hands picked up our baby boy, any doubts he once had were pushed aside. He snuggled Jesus close to his chest and wept. Wept with love, wept with relief, wept with the weight of what had been asked of us.
 
I wanted to savor these moments because I knew we had such a short time together. I knew that this precious baby of ours, now swaddled in the only dirty cloths I could find, would soon leave us.  I knew this baby Christ child was our Hope for the world and that His arrival had been prophesied for this time, but I wanted more time.
 
He is the Good News, the blessing and glory, I get that, but I also know the ultimate goal and right now, my momma heart can’t go there. Don’t make me. Let me savor this time. This time of Hope. Let me have just these few moments with my baby boy before I share him with the world.”

As I dove into the Christmas story through Mary’s possible perspective, it’s stirred my soul in new ways and I hope it’s fresh to you as well.

I’ve continued to “walk” with Mary through the crucifixion and am reminded, “Are we pointing the Christmas story back to the cross?”

In the midst of this most wonderful time of the year, Christ was born to die, so that we might have abundant life — life to the fullest. That’s the real Christmas story and I’m grateful for the reminder.

by Jen of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

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This Christmas, let’s remember: Christ was born to die, so that we might have abundant life. {Tweet this!}

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  • Bev @ Walking Well With God

    Jen,
    I love the ponderings of Mary. I can’t even imagine being in her place…young and scared…yet in awe and on board with God’s plan. The wooden feeding trough that cradled Jesus would soon enough be the rough timbers that held him crucified. Why? Because He loves us that much. May the reality of this truth sink into my heart this Advent season. Loved this!!
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • Jen @ beautyandbedlam.com

      It’s impossible to imagine, isn’t it? To think of all that we feel with our own children and yet it’s nothing compared to the weight she carried. Blessings to you , sweet Bev. :)

  • Rebecca Jones

    Beautiful, I can’t even begin to describe what she must have went through as a young mother, as a woman watching your Son mocked, ridiculed, crucified. I like the old movies, but some of them are so silly compared to the true meaning of Christmas. And if you look at mangers in Israel, they are made of stone, I admit the tears came flooding at the thought that the little Lord Jesus may have been asleep on the hay, in something that resembled a little tomb.

    • jen @ beautyandbedlam.com

      I am right there with you, Rebecca. As I was writing and trying to put myself in her spot, tears were streaming too.

  • Beth Williams

    Jen,
    Great post!! Such a fresh way to look at the Christmas story!!!! I can’t imagine being in Mary’s shoes–unwed and pregnant such shame! Thankfully Joseph got on board with her!! So hard to imagine riding a donkey pregnant and then having him out in the open air & only a feeding trough to place him in! I never really thought that Christ was born to die!!
    Blessings :)

  • http://livingcenter.me/ Nancy Wolfe @ livingcenter.me

    Oh, my – what lovely words. Hearing them spoken was powerful, as well. And, although we often speak of the discomfort Mary must have experienced on the journey and at Jesus’s birth, I have always believed that we cannot imagine the anguish she must have felt at his crucifixion. I just can’t… Thank you so much for including the “…and then…” part of this remarkable story. Merry Christmas…xoxox

    • Jen @ beautyandbedlam.com@

      Nancy –

      My post was getting too long to share it all here, but I kept going as I pondered her life through the crucifixion. You are so right – the anguish doesn’t even begin to cover it. I was blubbering as I attempted to put myself at the scene. I don’t think I could have done it.

      • Staci

        I would love to read “the rest of the story”. are you planning to post that as well?

  • Stephanie

    Thank you so much for sharing Jen! Truly touched my heart. God bless and Merry Christmas to you and your family! Xo

  • Janelle Keith

    Even further the hand and heart Mary held so close now holds ours. Breath of Heaven indeed.

  • helensteer

    Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful inspirational message from Mary’s viewpoint, I have been blessed and moved by your words and then reminder again of Mary’s willing response to the Angel. I ask myself the question do I willing respond to Gods leading and I have to say not always. Lord make me a more willing servant of yours at this Christmas and always.

  • http://livinginthisseason.com/ Keri Snyder

    So beautiful… in the years that I have been pregnant at Christmas, I often found myself really pondering Mary and all of her emotions. It can be so easy to gloss over it all without truly digging in, so glad you shared this to inspire us to dig in!

  • http://peacequility.com Julie

    This first person perspective was a great way to re-think Mary. Thank you!

  • Patti

    I loved your perspective from Mary’s eyes. Yes the astonishment Mary must have had, of how can this be? And knowing the ridicule she would have to endure, the undeserving shame that wasn’t even true, the whispers in the marketplace and so on… I had been given a little different twist on the birth of our Lord and Savior this season. From God’s perspective of why God chose Mary to bring Jesus into the world. We understand that she was obedient to God, she was humble, but I often, lets face it, I always thought of Mary as lowly in confidence, and did not see her as a strong woman, but God revealed to me this season, that Mary had great strength. She had strength and everything else she needed in God, relying on Him continually, she had confidence through Him. Because she had to endure as you stated the ridicule of friends, the shunning from her parents and Josephs parents and every other member of her family and friends. Even to go to the marketplace she had to be strong in the Lord God to hold her head up high and not want to run away and hide until Jesus was born. We have been given strong women as role models in the Bible like Easter and Ruth, Deborah, and Abigail, and others, but for some reason I never saw Mary as a strong woman of the Bible (just me I guess) maybe others did see her as a strong woman, I just didn’t. But God revealed to me that being strong is not about my ability to keep going in my storms but about relying on Him in my storms. This had to be a huge storm in Mary’s life, unwed mother, not to mention, the Angel of the Lord speaking to her. This all in a time when being stoned to death would have been common, yet there is no mention of the turmoil other than Mary hurried and when to visit Elizabeth, soon to be mother of John the Baptist. Was this a “get out of town so people don’t talk” storm, sparing her life, We don’t really know, but it might be… Anyway, knowing that your soon to be son was the perfect gift that God gave ‘us’ His children because He wanted and needed a way for us to be reconciled to Him… and then that gift is fulfilled in that Jesus remains obedient to the Father and Jesus chooses to love us more than we could ever image and be obedient to God and suffer be crucifixion so that we would have relationship with Jesus and the Father. For me your story was another beautiful piece of God’s story and how our lives really are about Him. I am sure I have not said this well, but your post and God’s revelation to me this Christmas season about the best gift that any father could give his children has really sealed this Christmas for me. What gift and what a love that is, that God would give His only son to die on a cross that you and I can live and have relationship with Him. It is so overwhelming. Thank you for a great post. P.

  • http://www.inspiredbyjune.com/ June

    A beautiful reminder, Jen, thank you so much for sharing!