Being someone with a vivid imagination, and very much one to ‘live in my head’, I’ve often wondered about the ponderings of Mary’s heart that we read about in Luke 2:19 after Jesus’ birth and the visit of the shepherds, and again in v.51 when Jesus was 12, and stayed behind in the Temple. If I had been in her place, there would have been no end to the ponderings! The word’s meaning in an online dictionary is:
“think about, give thought to, consider, review, reflect on, mull over, contemplate, study, meditate on, muse on, deliberate about, cogitate on, dwell on, brood on/over, ruminate about/on, chew over, puzzle over, speculate about, weigh up, turn over in one’s mind”
Imagine knowing you’re going to give birth to the Messiah, the Son of the Most High, Jesus, the One who would rescue us….imagine wondering what Simeon’s prophesy would mean for them all “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” I would have spent a lot of time brooding over that sword especially!
In his book “In God’s Image”, Marcel Rebiai says “I sometimes imagine what Mary must have been thinking during those thirty years before Jesus’ public ministry. She knew that He was the Messiah. She saw Him washing up, sweeping wood chips, fetching water….and kept thinking: ‘He’s already twenty…already twenty-five…and still nothing is happening. Nothing is changing in the world. And yet He is the one who is to save the whole world!’ Can you imagine what was going on in her heart?”
Sometimes I’ve wondered how members of the Royal Family sort out their many-faceted relationships with the Queen, especially Prince Philip – is she his wife, the mother of his children or his Sovereign? What’s it like to bow to your Granny? (Actually I rather like the sound of that – my grandchildren tease me mercilessly!) But what about Mary and her Son? I wrote down a quote the other day, “Mary had to surrender being Jesus’ mother to becoming a child of God: to surrender motherhood to embrace Jesus as her Saviour.” But at what point did this happen? Was it after Jesus’ death, or did the surrender happen gradually over the years? (You can see what a ponderer I am!)
It can be hard clinging onto our faith sometimes can’t it, and because of our own sad family circumstances at the moment, some days are a bit of a challenge as we wrestle with waiting in expectancy, and keeping a sure hope in God’s promises of restoration – all good Advent themes! And I’m sure Mary had her challenges too, especially as she waited for that extraordinary birth. We’re told that after Malachi, the last of the Old Testament Prophets, there was no word from God for 400 years, and Mary must surely have wondered sometimes in the middle of the night when she couldn’t sleep, whether the Angel Gabriel had really visited her with such a momentous announcement.
So whatever the future brings, one thing I can definitely say:
Thank you Lord for breaking Your 400 year silence to rescue me!