This past weekend my husband, Matt and I volunteered with Journey to Bethlehem. We were Mary and Joseph on our way to Bethlehem, with Mary being great with child. I am expecting our first child, Charlotte, in 6 weeks.
While sitting there for 2 nights I had lots of thoughts run through my mind about being Mary. Some were important and others were not.
I wondered how Mary dealt with the donkey, this “city” girl had a hard time not being distracted by the sounds and smells coming from it. I am not big into farm animals. We recently toured the hospital where I will give birth, it is no manger. There will be no he-haws or hay. I prayed that God would take my fears and distractions away to let me be in the moment.
In our scene our reader for the evening, Dodie Miller, reminded the visitors that Mary and Joseph were not headed to Bethlehem to drop-in on friends, but to register for taxes. Yes, taxes. Bills. I thought about our family budget, the price of diapers, wipes, college, and a wedding. I wondered how we are going to handle all that, where can I find coupons? What about childcare costs? What about our promises to St. John’s? Again, I prayed that God would take away my fears and distractions to let me be in the moment.
I listen to the readers describe Mary’s journey in the scenes before us. Joseph has decided to discretely dismiss Mary when he finds out she is with child. The Angel tells Joseph to Fear Not. I pray my thanks to God for my husband, Matt. He loves me, provides for our family, and is a good Christian example for our daughter. I am truly blessed.
Before that, Mary is sitting with her friend Elizabeth, and Elizabeth tells her that it will all be ok. Isn’t that what our friends are for? St. John’s is our church home, but it is also a church home to our very best friends. I know that they pray for us, just as we pray for them. They are beautiful friends that have moved us in ways that we can never thank them enough for. From our young adult group, to Sunday School, to our First Light Worship Service, to hand bells; these are my favorite people in the world. I pray my thanks to God for putting these people in my life. I am truly blessed.
The first scene. This one got me y’all. The Angel comes to Mary and tells her that she is with child and her child is from God. Whoa. I wonder how I would handle such earth shattering news. I see it going a little something like this: Um? Excuse me beautiful Angel, but what?? I think the woman at the well gave me a bad batch. I did not just hear that.
Not Mary. Yes, there is a moment of disbelief, but then she accepts this news.
Then, I start to think about how Mary must feel as a mother.
I have heard two things consistently during my pregnancy. One, “I bet you are ready to have that baby”. I’m not. Right now she is all mine. Sure you can reach over and feel her move, but for the most part it is just the two of us. She is an actual part of me. All mine. Once she comes I will have to share her. I’m sure Matt and you will want to hold her. I welcome that love she will receive. I appreciate it and cherish it. From the beginning Mary knew that she would share her child with the world, yes the entire world. Mary’s Son changed the world. She shared him with all of us. I pray that God will give me the courage to let my child go and live the life that God has planned for her. I pray that in her own way she will change the world.
The second thing I hear is to “cherish each moment once she arrives. Don’t rush it.” I wonder how Mary felt when Jesus took his first steps. The wise men came and brought gifts to a King. He was just a child. They knew the danger Jesus would be in if they revealed his location to Caesar, so they protected Him and didn’t go back and tell where He was. Instinctively I want to protect my daughter from anything that will hurt her. I pray that God can give me the strength that Mary had to let her Son be the man that he was meant to be. Jesus gave his life for our sins. He died for me. He died for you.
God, please lead me in my life. Guide me to cherish the moments and not be fearful. Take away the distractions and help me focus on You. Bless my husband and give him your guidance. Be with my friends and wrap your love around them. Please lead me to be a mother that loves without holding back. Be with Charlotte and may she always know Your love for her. Amen.