One of my favorite Christmas songs is “Mary, Did You Know?” I think that is because I am a mother and I can only imagine how hard it must have been to be pregnant as a teen, giving birth to God’s Son and knowing that His mission on earth would be a short one since His destiny was to be the Messiah for all mankind. I recall when I was pregnant with my children, all the imaginings and hopes and wishes I had for each child. I cherished the moments with them when they were growing up, watching carefully to see the choices each would make and allowing them more freedom as they matured. What must it have been like for Mary, the woman who knew she was giving birth to the One who would sacrifice His life for all of us?
This verse gives us insight into Mary’s character as a mom. She, like many of us, treasure our children’s childhood, knowing that one day they will grow up, leave home and establish a life for themselves apart from us. Mary was a human mother who had all of the love of a regular mother for her beloved son, and like most mothers, she treasured the preciousness of her time with her child.
Unlike most mothers, though, Mary received a prophecy from Simeon when she and Joseph took Jesus to the temple to be consecrated to the Lord. The prophecy included the fact that she would one day suffer tremendous sorrow because her firstborn son would die. It is not the “natural way” of things that a child should predecease a parent, but that was part of Jesus’s destiny and God’s plan of salvation. How much did Mary know? Enough. But she still was willing to be obedient and give birth to the Messiah. She didn’t cower and say, “No, not me. Choose someone else to do this hard thing.” Knowing that the road ahead would be hard, she chose to be the mother to the Man who was also God, the One who would one day die on a cross with her watching beneath it. I admire Mary’s sacrifice and fortitude, but I don’t worship her because she is not God. She was a human whom God chose to use to fulfill His plan for all of mankind and her willingness is to be remembered by us all as the ultimate sacrifice of a loving mother and obedient servant of the Most High God.