Over the Christmas season, I always find myself meditating not solely upon the miracle of God becoming flesh, but also the role players in the story. Mary was blessed with a responsibility that set her apart. Her love for our Saviour went beyond the love of redeemed and Redeemer, creation and Creator, woman and God. Therein was intertwined the devotion and attachment that a mother feels towards the child she bore, nursed and raised. The Son of God was also the son of Mary. Mary loved Him as her God. She also loved Him as her son. What intimacy they must have shared, what tender devotion. Her heart would have swelled with both pride and awe, adoration and wonder as the babe she had carried within her raised the dead, calmed the storms and declared Himself to be the bread of life. This privilege of being both follower and earthly mother of Jesus was a gift from God indeed. It was her calling, her divine appointment, her joy. And yet, with that joyful calling also came much sorrow. It was the very depths of her love for Christ that brought her more grief and pain than any of the disciples upon His crucifixion. The disciples saw their Messiah agonise and die. Mary saw not only her Messiah suffer but her son as well. She must have desired to take His place, and yet, He was taking her place instead, bearing the weight both of her sins and those of the entire world. She lost child and Redeemer that day. Her anguish must have been acute, far more so than even the twelve apostles.
Why do I fix upon such matters? We must understand, dear believer, that when the Lord calls, He is not promising an easy journey. He has assigned each one of us tasks, duties, responsibilities, all meant to be vehicles through which He proclaims to this world that Jesus saves. The talents He has gifted us with we are to drain with use to their dregs and by doing so, shining as His lights in the darkness, drawing the lost to Him. The family He has placed us within, the children we parent, we are to love with His love, being His hands, showing His heart. The paths He has commanded we walk along, the doors He has prompted we step through, all these we are to seize with the greatest zeal and commitment. Our God has bid us and we live to please Him. Now, while He strengthens and equips for such endeavours, the battles are often intense and sometimes long. However, be assured, just as Mary went from the joy of watching her son excel to the agony of watching Him suffer, so, when she came face to face with His resurrected self, joy overtook her heart again. Our Heavenly Father knows our limits, He knows what we are able to handle. He will not stretch us to breaking point. He sees the entire tapestry while we see only a few threads. He knows what He is doing, He knows what our trials will ultimately yield. Be encouraged, dearest friend. He sees our lives through the microscope of eternity. His perspective is different to ours. Trust His perspective. Keep your eyes on Him. Keep your heart sensitive to His whisperings. As you enter this new year, do so with confidence. Remember Mary. Remember that though weeping may last through the night, joy is surely coming (Ps 30:5).