Every Advent, I try to write a poem to help re-apply the Christmas Story to a heart and mind grown familiar with the tale. This year, I am down to the wire on all things: wrapping, packing, and writing.
Lately, I have found myself thinking about Mary, the new mother who was likely scared, elated, and everything in between. After the long journey that was forced upon them late in her pregnancy and the birth in the back room with the livestock, I imagine Mary had quite a lot to process.
Every mother experiences that moment when the adrenaline wears off, the meal train grinds to a halt, and a new reality sets in. Life will never be the same. All those months of preparation for the child have come to an end, but new life as a mother is only beginning.
After the shepherds left, the story had only begun.
There would be a flight from infanticide. An unexpected prophecy of maternal pain from Simeon. A strange visit from scholars from the East. Long middle years of normalcy and monotony, broken up with moments of perplexity like finding her adolescent Son confidently teaching grown men in the Temple. Swift tides of change as her son matured and veered from His father’s trade toward the less stable itinerant teacher track. Her Son’s sudden spike in popularity, quickly followed by threats and near-death escapes. His fate seemingly riding on the fickle waves of public opinion.
Isolation. Relief. Confusion. Frustration. All culminating in anguish unspeakable as she watched her first born Son suffer in excruciating pain, as she heard His name mired in undeserved shame.
Elation when her grief became glee as the younger Mary told her the joyous news of the Resurrection. Equal parts excitement and hesitation as the disciples told her about His Ascension back to the Father from whence He had come.
I wonder, if you found Mary later in life, what she would have said about that first night with her Son in light of all that came later. I wonder what the first few years were like after her Son’s ascending back to the Father in an even more mysterious and miraculous way than He had come. I wonder if she and John sat around and laughed while crying, telling stories about Jesus, the son, the friend, the Christ.
I imagine that His Ascension, like His birth, was a beginning. A beginning of a life simultaneously longing to be with Him again, yet presently attesting to His life, death and resurrection alongside the inchoate church.
Tears fill my eyes as I imagine that first hug between Christ and His mother when we all receive glorified bodies in the New Heavens and the New Earth. A third new beginning that will never end.
No mother knows what her motherhood journey will entail. The process unfolds just as organically and often imperceptibly as her child seems to grow. Yet, Mary walked in faithful obedience, trusting that the God who had sought her out would sustain her.
Birth was Just the Beginning
Travel. Travail. A baby’s wail.
Birth was just the beginning.
Sleepless nights. Fleeing flights.
A momma’s heart is spinning.
Long days. Quick years. Real fears.
Her love on His heart imprinting.
Horrendous cross. Unthinkable loss.
The mother’s hope is thinning.
Reunion. Resurrection. Perfection.
The pair cannot stop grinning.
His Ascension. Her heart’s tension.
This, too, is just the beginning.
Oh, that we would faithfully walk out the days He has ordained from us from before there were days. That we would trust Him with our beginnings and ends, that we would live in light of the new beginning that will usher in our eternal tomorrows. That we would remember His coming, His cross, and His coming again.