Monday, December 23, 2013

The First 40 Days Of Jesus- The Strength of Mary

   When we think of Christmas, we think of Luke chapter 2. We focus very little on Mary and Joseph and all the other characters brought in and we focus a lot on Jesus. And that is 100% okay, but when we narrow our sight on a single concept in a chapter in the bible (because we as an American society have made this chapter into NOTHING but Christmas), we lose sight of ALL that God wants us to see. This past month, my Sunday School teacher has been hitting Luke 2 hard and has been encouraging us to dig a little deeper, and this blog post is based on some things I learned about parenting from what she has told us/I have stringed together. (If you have never read Luke 2, I encourage you to do so right now and then return back to this point)
   Let's put ourselves in Mary's position: 
  • She's a newly engaged young girl, historically most likely around the age of 13 or 14. 
  • An angel has appeared to her and told her that she will birth the Messiah at her young age, even though she is most definitely a virgin
  • Her fiance tried to quietly divorce her, only to decide to stay by her side because an angel came to try and explain what's going on to him. 
  • Everyone around her thinks she is insane or not telling the truth. 
    I'm sorry, but we take this lightly when reading. This is HEAVY. If any of us were in this position we would most likely complain at every point we possibly could and not put as much trust in God as Mary did. It's easy to "trust God" through the little waves, but Mary went through something not a single other person in the history of man kind ever did. I can not imagine what was going through her head. 
   When we fast forward to Jesus' birth, we see that Mary had to get up and hike her very pregnant self up to her home town (which was a couple of days of travel via camel), where she went into labor with just Joseph to help her. Most people believe she actually had to give birth in a cave, although some do believe that it was literally a stable. The point of that part of the story was Mary had to give birth in the lowliest, most uncomfortable of places. 
   About 40 days after Jesus was born, he was to be consecrated in the temple. While Mary and Joseph were there, a man was overtaken by the holy spirit and led to basically tell Mary that her son will die and she will be so deeply affected by the death that it will "pierce her soul" as well. Mary had to have known before that moment that Jesus would die. When she found out that he was the Messiah, she would know his fate. However, I do believe that this was the first time that it really hit home with her. 
   From this chapter, we see that not only was Mary's life flipped completely upside down forever, but that she handled it flawlessly. Seriously, she was favored for a reason. I think God waited until the perfect person came along who could handle this situation because it truly is a weight to carry. Mary was strong, she was a lady, and she kept God's word even when it hurt. SO many lessons can be learned from Mary, but the one I want to focus on right now is this:
Parents, be Mary. Prepare for "your soul to be pierced too"
   Yes, I know that's very heavy. But it's true. There isn't an experienced parent out there that won't tell you when their kids finally left the nest, it was one of the hardest things they ever had to go through. However, this pain is prophesied from the very birth of the child. Did Mary hold Jesus back? Do we ever get the hint that Mary begged Jesus not to go through with the Crucifiction? No. Mary wanted God's will for Jesus to be done, and it was. But it was painful. This wasn't a surprise to Mary- she knew this pain would come. But she put Jesus' relationship with God first. This is what parents need to focus on most. If your kid wants to do foreign missions, or do anything away from home, don't discourage them. Please. Don't tell them not to go because YOU don't want them to go. Parents and children should seek God together. Learn something from Mary. God is the ultimate Father,the ultimate parent. He knows what is best. Reflect on the strength of Mary and want that strength for your children. 
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