Mary Pt. 5: The Rest of Her Road
The Angel came. The birth was foretold. The calling was accepted. The betrothal was mended. The prophecies were confirmed. The journey was travelled. The baby was born.
And that is where our celebrations and reflections end most years. But what is the rest of the story? We all know that the reason Christmas is a cause for celebration is because the baby born that night went on to live a perfect life and to carry the sins of the world to the cross. So each year at this time, our eyes turn from the reverence of the manger to the anticipation to Easter.
But what about this girl? What about Mary? What about the rest of her road?
We read life through a lens of “big events.” We boil down the memory of historical figures to their singular, spectacular deeds or titles. A King is remembered for the dates of a reign, a war hero for the battle that was won, a social justice advocate for the march that was led. But there is always more to the story.
And often the mundane moments in between the big events are what make the big victories possible.
A grand calling is only awarded if one is faithful in the small steps leading up to it, but we often forget that living out, and actually fulfilling, a divine calling equates to a lifetime of faithful, daily, and underwhelming obediences.
We get distracted marveling at the big moments, the angelic appearances, the life changing announcements, and then move on the next thing forgetting that finding out about the birth of Christ for Mary was only the beginning of a lifetime of continuing to say "yes," and of remaining faithful in mothering Jesus.
I see so much of myself in the tendency to fixate on big moments, and to forget that mundane minutes are what make up the most of God’s commissioned journies. My calling to foster care, the placement of my daughter in my home, and the culmination of Adoption Day marked a time in my life where God’s hand was immensely evident and my life felt overwhelmed with purpose.
And while there is momentous reason to rejoice in the act of adoption, more than anything, “Adoption Day” merely signifies day 1 of a never-ending journey of mothering.
And believe me, on the days I wake up to the sounds of whoopie cushions exploding next to my ear, I am not basking in the wonder of God’s miraculous calling on my life. Yet my role and self-sacrifical “yeses” in these mundane moments are just as important as accepting the call in the first place. These are the moments where a little life is being formed, shaped and tended to.
And for Mary, we often forget that 30 years of faithful parenting and guidance were given before Jesus began His ministry, and before the story as we know it picks up.
Her initial big “yes” was only day 1. And in retrospect, she truly had no idea what she was agreeing to. Agreeing to bringing a baby into the world is one thing, but as shame, judgement and misunderstanding rained down around her, she quickly realized that this venture would carry cost.
But surely she would have never guessed that her mundane days of mothering would end with her standing at the foot of the cross. Surely agreeing to be the mother of a King would not have resulted in her seeing her son betrayed and beaten by the ones He came to save.
But maybe she would have begun to see the weight that would mark her path when she brought her baby to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord, and was greeted by the prophetic confirmation and prophecy of Simeon. After confirming the baby as the Savior, Simeon turned his eyes to our Mary and said,
“Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
"And a sword will pierce through your own soul also..."
Would you be willing to follow Christ’s call on your life even if you knew your soul would be pierced with sorrow and hardship? Do you trust the works he has predestined for you? Do you trust that a lifetime of obedience on earth is worth the eternal glory that is waiting for you?
May we walk into the New Year with renewed conviction to walk out every mundane day in faithful obedience to the unique calling that God has placed on our lives. Each day is eternally important, and we can face it in bold confidence knowing that the supplier of help and provider for our needs is with us in every second, in every situation, and in every season.