Mary wasn’t known for too much before being selected to become the mother of Jesus. She came from a rough neighborhood and had a pretty typical genealogy. She was engaged to a man named Joseph, who, besides having some distant royalty in his blood as a descendent of King David, was an average Joe. I’d like to think that’s where we get the saying “Average Joe”. Joseph, Jesus’ step-dad, is a pretty typical guy from a pretty typical town who will marry, in his eyes, the most wonderful woman in the world. Every husband to be should think that about their wife. She’s no ordinary girl — She’s Mary thought Joseph. Or, at least in our 21st century view, he should’ve. Who knows.
All I know is that I was shopping for some last minute gifts at
Walgreens Macy’s for my wife Emily, and everything I looked at ran through the filter that said “will Emily be happy with this gift?” because, as her husband, I want her to be happy. Listen: I’m not the perfect husband, but I do know that… you know what? I’ll just stop there and continue down the main path:
Imagine Joseph’s shock when his nearly-wife Mary told him she was pregnant with the Son of God. He wanted to divorce her, but an angel came and told him not to, because the child conceived in Mary was truly of the Holy Spirit. So, they stayed together. Perhaps amidst ridicule, surprise, and even friends who tried to convince otherwise, they stayed together.
I bet Mary thought about that.
Mary gave birth and they called Him Jesus, which means savior. The angel told Mary that He would save His people from their sin, that he would be great, that he would reign as king, and that he would have all authority. Perhaps it crossed Mary’s mind that her son would someday save her. As she changed his swaddling cloths because babies do what babies do, I wonder if she considered who it was she was taking care of. The Son of God? Her son, Jesus? And, as she thought about that, Jesus cried because Jesus was hungry. She’s feeding the Son of God. What does that even mean?
I bet Mary thought about that.
Years later, her son Jesus would die on a cross, and she would have the horrendous experience of watching it happen. I wonder if she recalled the words of the angel, or remembered the gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh. I wonder when she realized that her son was born to die, born to set people free, born for us. I wonder if His life flashed before her eyes. I wonder if we could ever understand what it was like to see such a thing.
And I wonder if she was surprised to see just how much her boy — the one she raised with Joseph — would mean life for us tonight. I wonder what it was like to look back on this night like we are now. I bet she thought “Oh, Mary — if you only knew how faithful God would be…” So often I have thought about what it would be like to go back in time and talk to my younger self. Where would I begin? What would Mary say to… to Mary?
Tonight, we simply rejoice. We know that Jesus has come. He was born in a manger, lived a perfect life, died a grizzly death, and rose again to new life. Like every grownup walking the earth today, Jesus started out as a helpless baby whose cry makes parents jump to their feet. Every baby is like royalty. But baby Jesus is a King.
I bet Mary pondered that, too.