Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Mary's Perspective

Last year, I wanted to write about the first Christmas from Mother Mary's perspective. I read what I could about her in the scriptures. I used my own experiences and feelings as a mother to relate to what her experience may have been like. This year, I share it with all of you.

Merry Christmas!

Mary's Perspective

Young Mary, so pure and virtuous, was visited by an angel who told her that God has chosen her to be the mother of the Savior of the world. Her feelings of unworthiness must have shown on her face for the angel reassured her that she had found favor with God.

She was told that her son would be great, the Son of the Highest, that he would reign over the house of Jacob forever. Of course, every mother hopes the best for her child, but did Mary know what her son would have to bear as he fulfilled his role as the Savior of all mankind?

Did she realize right then, the implications this would have on her betrothal to Joseph? Yet would she, or could she, even for a second, have refused this heavenly call to motherhood? Of course not. She knew that no matter the difficult things she would have to deal with, God would be there to take care of everything. So she answered the awaiting angel, "Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it unto me according to thy word."

Mary, now with child, visits her cousin Elizabeth, whose own pregnancy was such a welcomed miracle. Upon Mary's arrival, Elizabeth's baby leapt in her womb and she was moved by the Spirit to pronounce Mary blessed among women.  She was honored that the mother of her Lord should come to her. They found great joy in each other's company and in praising and magnifying the Lord. A few months later, Mary returned home where she faced the reality that Elizabeth's miracle was much easier for others to accept than the miracle growing within her own womb.

Joseph must have loved her dearly. He loved her so much that he refused to shame her openly and publicly. While he pondered on how to secretly release Mary from their betrothal, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying, "Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost."

Now, Mary needs nothing more. With the support and love of her husband and knowledge that the Lord God would be ever watchful as the long foretold prophecies played out, this young mother could now enjoy and revel in the expectations of the new life they would welcome into their home. Her heart skipped with excitement when her baby moved within her. She made their house a home and prepared the necessary items for the upcoming birth.

Traveling to Bethlehem was so very tiring. Mary had to work to stay balanced on the donkey which Joseph led along the path. Being her first pregnancy, Mary would be completely unfamiliar with the physical signs that her time was approaching. This was a mandatory expense of time, however, and knowing her husband's heart was full of worry and compassion for her condition, Mary tried to keep her spirits up as the baby weighed heavily  down on her.

Entering the town of Bethlehem, they were both aware that the time had come. Their baby Jesus was soon to make his appearance. The town was crowded with people and the only place Joseph could procure for his traveling company to abide was already occupied by the tired animals of other travelers. Joseph did his best to help his wife through the trying delivery of her firstborn son. He found clean hay to place in an unused manger and sought out clothes in which to swaddle the baby. Silently, he thanked the Lord for the mild temperatures.

Was Mary aware of the angels in attendance? Were her pains reduced by an intervening, loving Heavenly Father? Did she have any woman to attend to her with comforting assurance that all was going well? When her final pains subsided, was she rewarded by having the warm, tiny infant placed upon her chest? Her tiny Jesus, foretold of for centuries, was now in her arms, her heart  already bonding eternally with his.

Joseph watched as Mary tended their newborn son. There still lingered a very special feeling in the room, as if the doors of Heaven had been left ajar. Being evening, they were surprised to hear voices of men approaching. Joseph went out to belay any unwanted intrusion on the peacefulness his wife was finally able to enjoy.

He met the shepherds just outside the entryway. His eyes widened in surprise when he heard them say they were looking for the baby who would be lying in a manger. They started all talking excitedly and Joseph caught the words "angel", and "sign", and "Savior". He asked them to wait while he checked to make sure that Mary was presentable. Joseph returned and they all reverently entered the room where the shepherds quietly expressed amazement that they were viewing exactly what the angel had described to them out in their fields.

Mary shyly looked up at Joseph, then he looked over to the men and asked them to please tell them everything. They spoke of the fear they felt as they noticed the dark of the night pierced by brightness and a vision was opened up to them. They spoke first of one angel who told them to fear not for he brought good tidings of great joy.  The angel had said that a Savior, which is Christ the Lord, had been born that day and that they would find the babe in Bethlehem wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Next, they spoke of a sudden multitude of angels all praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." When the vision ended, they had unanimously decided to go right then and see this thing which the Lord had made known to them.

Mary looked down at her little babe. She listened as Joseph continued to speak with the shepherds. He shared with them their own visions of the angel. Mary recounted in her mind her visit with Elizabeth. She committed to memory what the shepherds had shared with them.  She stored all these special things in her heart so that as her child grew, she would be able to share them with him.

As she softly caressed her baby's fine hair, Mary fought back tears. Her heart was full. Every mother's baby was a miracle, but this miracle was not just for her. This miracle was for all of mankind.

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