A lot of people are back at work today after Christmas and the new year. How was your holiday? I’ve been spoilt this Christmas 2012. Shopping with my sister; no arguments; lunch yesterday with 2 of my very best friends, but as Christmas Day was beginning, I felt a real sadness that Christmas might not be all I hoped for.
It was then God reminded me of Mary. She must have had hopes and dreams too – hopes for her marriage to Joseph; for her status in the community; perhaps dreams of them growing old together and seeing their grandchildren’s children, and then the angel Gabriel visited. In many ways, that visit would have shattered her hopes. She must have known that if she kept this Baby, her reputation would be in tatters. Who would believe a simple girl like Mary had been visited by an angel, and become pregnant through the Holy Spirit? Would Joseph even agree to marry her, or would the Son of God be born and brought-up in her father’s house, both of them viewed as a disgrace? With all these unanswered questions, she was still able to say: “I am the LORD’s servant. … May it be to me as you have said.”
And later, when Simeon told her: “A sword will pierce your own soul”, how must she have felt? By then of course, Joseph had agreed to marry her. An angel had come to him in a dream and explained things to him, so perhaps she had faith that whatever happened, God would work things out. But this piercing of the soul? Her son, Jesus, wouldn’t be like other children. He died on a cross and wasn’t there to care for her in her old age (He made sure she was cared-for, but wasn’t there Himself), and Joseph? We hear of Joseph when Jesus was twelve years old, but nothing after that. Perhaps he was much older than Mary and she was widowed; we don’t know, but her future certainly looked a lot different from the one she must have imagined.
It was a comfort to me that even if things didn’t turn out just the way I’d hoped, I’d be in good company. I hope it helps you, too.