|Pieta. Michelangelo, 1499|
The Word for today:
mark this: Luke 2:6-12
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
All the Christmas cards and stained glass in the world don't begin to convey the fascinating, delightful, and lovely Mary.
Although there's not much in the Bible about her--most of it can be found right here at the beginning of Luke--she emerges as a character of great depth and dimension, and with a touch of mystery besides; reminiscent, in fact, of her eldest son, whom she knew as "Yeshua."
Today we conclude a 3-part series by looking through his Mom's eyes as little Yeshua steps into the man that he becomes.
It wasn't long, in miles or years, from Nazareth to the wedding party at Cana, where Jesus cut the cord: "Woman," he called her, distancing himself, "what have you to do with me?" (1)
She'd known this day must come. He'd distanced himself before, when he was just a boy, when they'd searched in vain for him among the convoy. Three days later, relieved to find him in the Temple among the teachers and the experts in Scripture, they'd heard him declare that he must be about his Father's business (2).
She'd winced at the insensitivity of the phrase and reflexively looked to Joseph. How that remark might have stung the humble, hardworking carpenter. But Joseph withstood, solid as a rock, ever the backbone of the family.
The boy, until lately just a go-fer in the shop, had begun to show a real knack for carpentry and had become his right-hand man. But he also knew that Yeshua was on a mission from God, and that he was the kind who played to win. No offense taken.
And Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. (3)
Then--so soon, too soon--from Cana to Jerusalem, where the son of her sorrow (4) would fall, and rise…
To his own nation, Israel, he is Son of David (5). To the wider, Gentile world, he is Son of Man. To the believing universe, he is Son of God.
But to just one person, he is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh (6). When they pierced his side, they'd pierced her own soul too (7). To one person, to her alone, he is Son of Mary. (8)
And she treasured all these things in her heart. (9)
(1) John 2:4; (2) Luke 2:49; (3) Luke 2:19; (4) a reference to Genesis 35:18: see "A Mary Christmas, part 3"; (5) Mark 10:47; (6) Genesis 2:23; (7) Luke 2:35; (8) Mark 6:3; (9) Luke 2:51