Advent is a beautiful season of hope and expectation, a time to ponder a young woman who bore within her the Christ, the Savior, yet also an infant who kicked, cried, and suckled like any other. There is a spiritual anticipation juxtaposed with human pain and extreme joy.
I often ponder how it must have been for the mother of our Lord. Like every mother, she surely anticipated her baby’s arrival with hope and trepidation. Sure, God had done a marvelous thing, brought into being the child in her womb. But what did that mean?
The song, “Mary, did you know?” explores what Mary experienced as she carried God’s own son, himself God, in her mortal womb.
Did she grasp the reality? Could you or I? Accepting the call of God through the Angel Gabriel, could she anticipate that those tiny perfect hands and feet would have nails driven through them? Did she imagine that the flesh that formed inside her, that perfect infant’s body would one day be scourged and crucified? I tremble at the thought. Surely God spared her mother’s heart the unfolding of his plan. Yet she had to birth her baby in a stable, to flee Herod’s wrath and live among strangers. In order to fulfill the creative work God began in her, she surrendered, and she suffered–as Simeon said she would–the piercing of her own heart.
While nothing I do compares to the incarnation, we all carry a divine spark that we must nurture. We don’t know what God intends for any creative work we surrender to his will, but we can believe–as Mary did–in a purpose larger than our understanding. In this season of hope and anticipation, even if it involves grief, as each season does for someone, we await with joy the revelation of God’s plan in our lives, in this world, and the next, everlasting. I trust He will accomplish what He began, because He is the great I Am.