As a child, Christmas Eve meant a busy day of cooking, a 30-minute drive to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, and en evening of food, cousins, carols, and a very entertaining white elephant gift exchange. Christmas Eve was the best day of the year. Much more exciting than Christmas Day.
I knew things would change once I got married, but I didn’t know how much they’d change. Thirteen years ago today, I was in the hospital, holding my newborn daughter, my first child. That day, and every Christmas Eve since, I have thought about Mary and what that first Christmas must have been like for her.
On this day that we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior, I commemorate the beginning of a new life for me. Not only is Christmas Eve the birthday of my oldest daughter, but it is the birthday of my life as a mother. (And, no, I was not a teenager myself here. I just had a very young face)
I have often pondered on the great responsibilities and the incredible privilege of being a mother. What an honor it is to raise God’s children and to participate in the miracle of His creation.
So much has changed since that day in 1996 when I held my newborn baby in my arms. That day, I was filled with love. I couldn’t comprehend the love that I felt for that little girl. But I was also overwhelmed by the responsibility placed in my hands that day. How was I going to do this? What did I know about being a mother? Again, my thoughts turned to Mary and what she must have been thinking that day. She had been visited by an angel and knew from the beginning of her pregnancy that her child was no ordinary child. But how could she have understood in those early days? Even with the angelic preparation, how could she–a young girl with no experience being a mother or even a wife–prepare for the feeling of holding her son for the first time?
One of the kids’ favorite Christmas sons is Mary, Did You Know? (by Mark Lowry) My kids apparently really like it. Here are the words:
Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you've delivered, will soon deliver you. Mary did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man? Mary did you know that your baby boy will calm a storm with his hand? Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod? And when you kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God. The blind will see, the deaf will hear and the dead will live again. The lame will leap, the dumb will speak, the praises of the lamb. Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your baby boy will one day rule the nations? Did you know that your baby boy is heaven's perfect Lamb? This sleeping child you're holding is the Great I Am.
I don’t think Mary could have fully comprehended what was in store for her son or how his life would effect all mankind. Do we, over 2000 years later, fully appreciate what his life means to us? I can’t know what was going through Mary’s mind that night, but I know her heart must have been very full. Her son had come to earth to be our Savior, but he was her baby first.
Have a wonderful and Merry Christmas!
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