Of all the people involved in Jesus' birth, I've always wondered the most about Mary. Of all the Jewish women in the world at that time, God chose her to be the mother of Jesus. What was it about her that made God choose her? We know she wasn't perfect. We know she was young -- probably just a teenager. She wasn't married, and she had no experience being a mother. What was it about her that made her the one to be Jesus' mother?
I think we find the key in her reactions to everything that happened. When the angel appeared to Mary and told her she was going to have a baby, she asked some questions -- who wouldn't? But, her final response was this "'I am the Lord’s servant,' Mary answered. 'May your word to me be fulfilled.'" She was a woman with a great faith in God and a spirit that was accepting of His plan.
There's no way that Mary could know what being the mother of Jesus would mean. She couldn't have known that she would watch Him perform miracles and then watch Him die on a cross. Jesus would bring her great joy and the greatest of sorrows. Through it all, we see Mary simply being Jesus' mother.
When the shepherds came to see her newborn son -- whom she'd had in a dirty stable, of all places -- her response was this "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." (Luke 2:19). Mary knew that what was happening was an amazing blessing from God, so she treasured the moments in her heart.
Can you imagine being Jesus' mother? Jesus was perfect. While we all wish for the perfect child, can you imagine raising one? Can you imagine the feelings of inadequacy that raising the perfect son of God would create in a mother? Yet, throughout Jesus' life, we see Mary in the midst of things. She was there at his birth, when he performed his first miracle and at his death. She clearly loved Him as any mother loves her child.
Spend some time today bringing Mary alive for your children. Making sure your kids understand that the story of Jesus' birth isn't just another story that we read -- it really happened -- is important. It's so easy for our kids to just throw the stories of the Bible into the mix of everything else they see and read and not really recognize that Jesus is real. Making the retelling of the story come alive for them helps them to understand that the people involved were real. They had feelings and concerns.
Read Luke 1 and 2 with your kids and have them focus on what Mary says and does. Depending on their age, ask your kids these questions about Mary:
- How do you think Mary felt when the angel appeared to her? Point out that the Bible tells us she was afraid.
- How old do you think Mary was? Tell your kids that she was only a teenager.
- How do you think it felt to be pregnant and ride a donkey on the long trip to Bethlehem?
- What do you think Mary thought about having her baby in a stable?
- How do you think Mary felt when the shepherds appeared?
Be real with your kids. Tell them about the dirty stable, the uncomfortable journey to Bethlehem and what the Bible tells us about Mary's feelings. Make her come alive for your children so that Jesus becomes real to them as well.