Mary would never be the same. And neither would we.
by Tami Rudkin
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her born, a son (Luke 2:6, 7, NIV).
Could I ever let him go?
He lay in my bed, head resting close to mine, covers thrown carelessly over half of his body. I rolled to my side to watch him doze. His brown hair was tousled with the night’s sleep, but still beautiful to me as I gently moved it out of his face. His big eyes I could not see just now. Dark eye lashes rested on his face, and I marveled at their length — a girl’s dream. His chest moved up and down as sleep drew him to a calmness I rarely see during the day.
I remember the first time I saw him. He was a sight to behold, and I fell in love immediately. If you are a skeptic about love at first sight, you have never had a son. This child lying beside me in the early morning hours was my son. Never have I been so moved by love, by responsibility, by fear.
There have been many before and more yet to come: mothers. Overwhelmed with the terrifying and joyous task of raising a son, each of us asks a myriad of questions as we watch our beloved sons: How will I teach him strength, yet gentleness? Pride, yet humility? Self-awareness, yet consciousness of others? Community, yet solitude? How will I teach him of true love, that the good wins in the end, that peace is best, and that best is the hard road mined with bombs of difficulty, good intentions, and people saying “Forget it. It’s impossible”?
Most frightening of all, how will I teach him independence when my heart will want to hold tight to that son I love so much?
As I ask myself these questions, I think of another mother of a special son: Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Mary had a Son. First as a cooing infant. Content in the arms of the sweetest person on earth, He had the breath of a newborn: sweet and warm. Then the Son was a teetering toddler. Looking over His shoulder to see if Mom was watching, He had the temperament of a toddler: cuddling and independent.
Next, the Son was a clumsy child. Wandering away to play with friends, He had the countenance of a child: grinning, then frowning. Of course, He couldn’t skip being a gangly teenager. Learning a trade and dreaming of tomorrow, He had the questions of a teen: pointed, yet innocent.
All too quickly, the Son became an adventurous adult. Stepping away to begin His own life, He had the hopes of a young adult: success and fulfillment.
Does this seem a little far-fetched? Perhaps a bit irreligious? Is it hard to imagine Jesus as a son, a boy who would venture through all the stages of life until one day He stopped being exclusively the son of Mary and became the brother to us all?
Jesus, born to a simple, available woman.
Jesus, born with a human heart pumping blood to sustain His life.
Jesus, born in flesh that could be torn and bruised.
Jesus, born with a spirit yearning for fellowship with God and people.
Jesus, born with eyes that would see humanity’s dilemma.
Jesus, born with hands that could touch the leper, caress the child, and break the bread.
He was a son born to know our every hurt, hope, illness, struggle, and emotion. So even if it is hard to imagine Jesus being like my son and yours, He was. And because He was, as well as the perfect God, He is the one in whom to place our dreams of great tomorrows, our sorrows of days gone by, and the questions of this day we face. Jesus can sympathize with us, for He has been like us.
Raising the Son
Mary’s heart must have soared with the birth of her firstborn Son. The well-traveled wise men knelt before them, the summoned shepherds danced about them, and the announcing angels crowded the starry sky above them.
Raising the Son was a joy, but it was work too, or it wouldn’t have been real. Like every parent, Mary must have realized deep in her heart there would be a time when He would have to leave her side to begin His life. Did she know what pain was in store for Him? It would have broken her heart. Did she know that a cross would be His personal altar? She would have clung to Him and begged Him never to leave. Did she know that death would have no hold on Him? Eternity would have been her consolation.
No one knows for sure what Mary understood about her Son, except that He was the Son of God given to her for a short time to nurture, to care for, to love. Some hours passed slowly while a mother’s work — cleaning, cooking, and disciplining — seemed to drag on and on. Other precious moments — shared secrets, laughter, and warm embraces — flew by all too quickly.
My own sons are still young, and I already dread the day of their leaving. Yet I know they have a special future uniquely designed by God and that one day I must let them go to fulfill their own destiny. With perfect timing and with a mother’s love, Mary released Jesus to be the Son that God intended Him to be: a ray of hope for the blind, fresh air for the suffocating, and a sacrifice for the guilty.
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