When you are blessed with a baby, I think that the natural reaction of every parent, as they stare at the tiny life that is just beginning, is to wonder what their child’s life will hold. We all have hopes and dreams, fears and worries for our kids. We all have prayers that go up to God for their health, their well-being, their salvation.
We seek to pick out character traits (both good and bad) in them and hone them. We look for natural affinities for sports, music, art, science, etc. We project our own shortcomings and failures on them. We project our own successes, too.
And then we watch them grow. We watch them become who they are going to be. We watch them make mistakes and try to help them not to make them again. We mess up, they mess up. They succeed, and we feel like a success. They bring us both joy and sorrow, laughter and pain.
Parenting is not easy.
So today, as I was reading through Luke 2, the story of Jesus’ birth and the only account of any events of His childhood, this line stood out to me:
“Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart.” Luke 2:51
As much as we hang on every move of our kids, Mary no doubt hung more. As much as we watch with intense interest as they grow, Mary must have kept an extremely keen eye on Jesus.
I felt like a troll over Christmas for thinking Hannah was with her mom in Target (not knowing Amanda thought she was with me) and walking off, only to hear Hannah start screaming a few minutes later. Think how Mary felt when it took them 3 days to find Jesus after leaving Him in Jerusalem!
You see, we all have hopes and dreams for our kids, but think of Mary’s! His conception announced by an angel, the miracle of the Holy Spirit overshadowing her, the visit of the Magi, the shepherds bowing down, the flight into Egypt and subsequent return. All these things were rooted and bound up in the hope that little Jewish girl had in the Promise of the Messiah in her Scriptures.
Did she, like so many Jews of her day, only keep to the triumphant passages about Him? I wonder when Simeon prophesied that a sword would pierce her own soul if Mary was aware of just how much her son and her Savior was going to have to suffer. I wonder if she prayed for Him, that the cup would pass from Him, just as Jesus would later pray? As a parent, don’t we all pray for the safety of our kids? Think she was any different?
I think of the 30 years of “normal” life that Jesus lived (if you can in any way, shape, or form call the life of Jesus normal) before He began His ministry. I wonder if the passing of all those days lulled her (and all the family) into a sense of complacency. They all went through a period where they seemed to doubt (Mark 3, Luke 8). The routine of everyday has a way of doing that to all of us, doesn’t it?
Yet, in the end, Mary was there, at the foot of the cross, as her son bled and died for her sins and ours. She was there later when He appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, and she was there when He sent the Holy Spirit to give them the power to go and make the word His disciples.
No doubt she pondered all those things in her heart, too.