I’m a girl who likes to analyze perspectives. I find a story far richer when I consider how each character must feel about the information to which they’re privy. I find real-life relationships more manageable when I follow Atticus Finch’s advice in To Kill a Mockingbird when he said, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
Reading the Christmas story in this way makes it fresh and sweet to me from one holiday season to the next. While I try to focus on a different character’s perspective each year, I can’t help but find myself wandering back to Mary’s point of view a few million times.
If any girl had a reason to feel overwhelmed, misunderstood, and inadequate, it would have to be the woman whom God chose to mother the Son of God. And the circumstances she endured while it all fell into place blow my mind. She is visited by an angel, goes through a pregnancy with all of its wonderful yet uncomfortable symptoms, and ends up with the ultimate insane birth story. Can you imagine being in her circle of friends, listening to her share how her poor, clueless husband-to-be had be the one to deliver the Savior of the world while they made do in an uneven pile of filthy hay and some rags as the donkey who had hauled her tired body halfway across the country awkwardly stared on?
I believe it’s safe to say she didn’t picture it happening like that when the angel broke the news. I don’t picture this woman as anything but humble; however, I can’t help but assume that she would picture the God of the universe, the Name above all names, arriving in at least some grandeur as she pushed through the judgmental stares and swollen ankles leading up to Jesus’ birthday. Instead, the first visitors were not her parents, but a group of strange men with their sheep crowding the manger. There was no Germ-X outside the door, but there were probably rats in the corner squeaking and clawing at their kernels of corn.
My personal favorite verse in the Luke 2 account of Christ’s birth is verse 19, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Something I find unbelievable about becoming a mother is the way it has of softening the bizarre and challenging conditions that surrounded the child’s arrival. One of my prayers as a mother is to always keep this perspective that Mary displayed in Luke 2:19.
I want to take the mundane, ugly, and beautiful days of motherhood and ponder them in my heart. (That’s why I started blogging when my little guy was born, to keep that record close at hand when I need to regain my focus. Perhaps this post better explains the title of my mommy blog that most of you follow, A Mother’s Pondering Heart.)
With the hectic schedules and overwhelming to-do lists that are inevitable with Christmas, I pray that I will be able to maintain this train of thought as well. How beautiful the lights on our Christmas tree look, how precious it is to hear my child talk about Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, how blessed I am to have what God has given me – so much. Nothing about our decorations and presents are fancy by the world’s standards, yet with a pondering heart, God gives me the gift of seeing true beauty rather than hustle and bustle.
What are you pondering this Christmas?
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Be sure to check in with me tomorrow as I share an opportunity for wives to participate in a month-long challenge to pray for their husbands this coming January!