Today as I was working on a very taxing and very time consuming Christmas project, my thoughts were very appropriately focused on the birth of Jesus Christ, which we will be celebrating in just two short weeks. I have spent much of this past year pondering the birth and death of our Savior, and His ultimate Atonement as it applies to my small family. Great reverence and gratitude fill my heart this Christmas Season, but today, my thoughts were not focused so much on Christ himself, but instead on His mother, Mary.
I think I can imagine Mary on that first Christmas night…over 2000 years ago. I know how she must have felt when her child was placed in her arms…when she saw His face for the first time, and touched His soft skin. I can imagine his little fist clenched around her youthful finger, and I can see the serene smile on her face as she gazes at her new baby, Jesus, who was not only her Savior, but was also her Son; her very own little boy. I am sure, that as she held Him in her arms, that every molecule in her body screamed vows of protection: and that mentally she was pleading to do whatever it took to spare her pure and beloved child: even if it meant taking His place throughout all life’s sorrow, even unto death.
I can feel her heartache as she watched her Son suffer pain and anguish, through no fault of His own. I am familiar with the desires of her heart as she wishes that there were some other way that Heavenly Father’s plan might be fulfilled, and am similarly familiar with her accepting that there is no other way. Mary knew early on that Her son was born to die. Did that make it any easier to bid him goodbye? I think not.
Yes, in many ways I can relate to Mary. I know the love of a mother for her son. I also know what it is like to watch your perfect and pure son suffer. And I know what it is like to watch your son die. I know what it’s like to wish there was some other way, and to wish that you could take all your son’s pain upon yourself…if only you could.
Of course there are many ways in which I can’t even imagine the heartache she had to endure.
I did not have to standby and watch my son be publicly humiliated. Beaten, disrespected, and scorned; wrongfully accused of all sorts of blasphemies, spit upon, mocked, and ultimately executed.
So today my heart is bursting with love for Mary. I am so very grateful for the connection that I have with the mother of God, and so humbled by her strength and purity. She accepted her role in the plan that required her Son to die for my son. I hope to one day meet Mary…so that I might throw my arms around her neck and thank her for her strength and her sacrifice.
Four days after the celebration of the birth of her Son, we will arrive on the date of death of my son. I know that Mary will be a source of comfort to me during that difficult time as I think about the love that she must have felt for the Son that she watched die: for me…