… That Your Baby Boy Would …
“When the divine life possesses the soul, it flows over in gracious ministries among our fellowmen. The affluence becomes an influence importing itself to others.” ~ John Henry Jowett
My mind has been fixated on two particular songs this Christmas season that announce a tug of war going on between pain and gain; Mary Did You Know and Labor of Love. One speaks of being highly favored in carrying the King of all kings and all its glory, while the other speaks to the pain and suffering surrounding the inhumane conditions and environment during the birth of Jesus.
Mary is known for being the mother of Jesus Christ and for sojourning through life with influence being “highly favored.” This pronouncement of grace delivered by the angel named Gabriel confuses her deserved respect to mere idolatry today (Luke 1:28).
I don’t know about you, but the planting of that miraculous seed developing right before my very eyes, both figuratively and literally, would open the doorway of vulnerability for enemy attacks, assaults and accusations. I would have absolutely no time to prepare or be on guard for the automatic deployment of the flaming arrows that would confuse this “gift” being highly favored.
When God speaks, we oftentimes forget there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
Do I hear an Amen before the ahem?
Worshiping a sinful woman who suffered immensely beyond all comprehension destroys her deep faith and amazing testimony. She should definitely be respected and praised, but not idolized and sought after for prayer, deliverance, you name it. Her life is an example to follow!
Mary was a woman of faith and discipline. When Jesus referred to Mary as “Woman” in John 2:4 during the wedding, that should have initiated an automatic reactionary backhand.
Though we don’t know all the details, Mary’s faith was built on trust and delivered through tragedy and heartache.
How is God’s gracious presence being displayed through our lives?
As I focus on the words of both songs and understand what all it cost Mary being Jesus’ mother, it reminds me of my own grief and losses as a parent. My faith recalls my own refinement process and the molding and shaping that occurred during my school of pain. My children will receive their gifting, but some qualities are delayed, others cost dearly, and many can only be learned through pain and suffering.
Absent of Mary’s labeling, she didn’t know her baby boy would calm violent storms with His precious hands. That He would give sight to the blind. That He would walk where angels trod. And each time she leaned in to kiss her baby boy, she had no idea she was kissing the face of God.
She never knew that her son would be Lord of all creation and would one day rule all the nations. How could she? Nor that her baby boy would be crucified and tortured right before her very eyes just to save our sons and daughters.
Moms, that’s excruciating pain…
The thought that this precious baby cooing and looking back at you as he nurses off of your breasts has come to make you new, and this child that you delivered will soon deliver you because He is the Great I Am is unimaginable!
Forget the glamorous depiction of a cleaned-up baby Jesus with white skin and blue eyes. That’s an illusion. Jesus was most probably dark skinned. He was born in filth, disease and decay. Mary may have delivered and brought down heaven, but it was not in conditions that were indicative of any kingdom affluence and/or privilege.
“It was not a silent night. There was blood on the ground. You could hear a woman cry in the alley late at night. And the stable was not clean, and the cobblestones were cold, little Mary full of grace with the tears upon her face with no mother’s hand to hold…”
It was nothing short of a Labor of Love.
Raising An Extra-Grace Required Child!
Mary knew Jesus was unlike any other, yet she went through questionable behaviors and unknowns just like we do regarding what her child would become. Being the mother of Jesus required more than mastering the skills needed to raise an extra-grace required child.
She pondered and treasured the words in her heart that the angel Gabriel delivered, the words of Elizabeth, the shepherds’ pronouncements, and the prophetic words of the Old Testament. She kept tapping into these treasures deep in her heart along with her faith and trust in God.
These treasures Mary held near to her heart are what kept her brave and strong. This radiance is what both held and lit the way during darkness. We may not understand everything, but we can love and support while believing in others because Jesus radiates within our souls.
When the divine life possesses the soul, it flows over in gracious ministries among our fellowmen. The affluence becomes an influence importing itself to others. ~ John Henry Jowett
If we are beloveds who delight in the gift of Jesus’ presence, we become imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:1-2).
Jesus is the Labor of Love!
Until next time…