Today, as darkness tries to swallow me alive, I find myself reliving the first days of this incredible journey. It is the only place I can find light. Light.
Light is how it all began.
I remember the light.
How it started small and then grew so bright. I had to look away and shield my eyes for fear I would go blind. Once my eyes adjusted, I saw something or someone. I felt instant peace in his presence.
“Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”
His voice, so smooth and rich, was confident and calming. But what he said frightened me. A greeting from Yahweh? How could this be? His message confused me further. He told me of the Child. I did not fully understand how all of this would be, but I knew instantly my response would be obedience.
I remember my visit with Elizabeth.
She waddled her way down the walkway to greet me and stopped suddenly. She hugged her bulging middle so quickly, I feared something was wrong. Her eyes lit up like the sun itself as she looked at me and exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! When the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
I was so overcome with joy and assurance that everything would be okay. The only thing I knew to do was sing.
My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
I remember singing
this very song to my precious Son as we huddled together in the stable. It had been such a long journey, full of uncertainty. Even as I rested atop the donkey, I had a sense that everything would be as it should. Yahweh had been faithful over the last 9 months. I knew He would stay with us now. As soon as I saw Jesus’ face, red and wrinkled from the struggle to be born, I was overcome with the certainty of the presence of Yahweh.
I remember the visitors.
Shepherds came to us that night. They told us they had seen a great light. I imagine it was much like the light that visited me back in Nazareth. Instead of one angel, the shepherds saw a host of angels. They told the shepherds where to find the newborn King. King? It was hard to imagine my Jesus, this infant wrapped in grave clothes, sitting on a throne!
They weren’t the only visitors. Later, while we were in Egypt, a caravan of men from the East came into our home. One by one they bowed at Jesus’ feet. He sat stone still in my lap and looked each of them in the eye. Such strange behavior for a toddler boy. Most children hide behind their mother’s skirt when strangers are near. Not Jesus. He welcomed the Magi as if He was accustomed to such praise. These men laid precious treasures at our feet: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold is a gift fit for a king. But the burial oils? I didn’t understand it at the time, but now it is starting to make sense.
I remember our first visit to the temple.
It was time to present Jesus to the Lord according to the Law of Moses. A very old man named Simeon held Jesus as if He were a precious treasure. Tears spilled down his wrinkled cheeks like anointing oil. Jesus had been sleeping, but He opened His eyes and looked at Simeon and smiled. Simeon spoke a blessing over Jesus. I will never forget his words.
Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.
That’s not all Simeon said. His tear-filled eyes darkened just a bit. He leaned in close and spoke low so only I could hear. “A sword will pierce through your own soul also.”
I couldn’t imagine it at the time. Jesus was so soft and innocent. As a child, He brought joy and peace to everyone he met. Things changed when He started teaching. He made the Pharisees and rulers so angry. I thought the confrontations I witnessed between them fulfilled Simeon’s words. I had no idea what would come next.
He has been dead 2 days now. I have never known sorrow like this. Yet, in my sorrow, I do not despair. My memories of those first few years and all of His teachings over the last three years remind me this is not the end.
The light that blinded me at the start of this journey still shines. I remember my Son promising resurrection. It’s impossible to imagine a dead man rising. But no part of my story seems possible. A virgin birth, my prophesying cousin, the King in a manger, the star leading visitors to our door, Simeon. Not to mention the countless miracles I witnessed in the last three years. If there is one thing I have learned as the mother of Jesus, it is this: nothing is impossible with God. Because of that, I have a reason to hope.
All scripture from Luke 1 and 2, ESV.
Since Christmas falls on a Friday this year, I am sharing the #FridayFive link up a few days early. Share your own precious Christmas memories in the comments, or link up your Christmas posts using the button below. I look forward to rejoicing in God’s great gifts with you!
Be sure to come back next week to share your goals for 2016. I am so excited to share goals with you!