A lot can happen in nine months. Nine months is usually associated with new life as that is the average gestation period of a human. I have been incredibly blessed to spend nine months carrying a new life, not just once, but twice. I hoped I would get to do that for a third time, but that was not God’s plan for Taylor and me. My plan was to be fat and happy this Christmas with baby number three on the way, but instead I am tired and scrappy having survived these first nine months without my husband. I keep moving forward because I know I don’t have any other choice. After I get my children down for the night I feel lazy and guilty if I neglect my writing or household projects. I have to remind myself that I am nursing deep wounds and that taking time to veg out and binge watch Bravo is also a part of healing.
Every night, the girls and I cuddle together on the floor next to their twin beds to read before I tuck them in. They each select their book and this week Charlotte brought over one she has never picked out before. It is called 100 Extraordinary Stories for Courageous Girls: Unforgettable Tales of Women of Faith. It is one of her big sister’s books, a birthday gift from Taylor’s cousin, Elizabeth. We flipped through and I asked my youngest to pick out a couple of the stories to read. The first one she turned to was more than appropriate as we enter into the Christmas season. It was the story of the virgin Mary.
I think it is easy to get caught up in the magic of Christmas and forget the reality of what is written in the book of Luke. Many of us have heard the nativity story so many times that we can easily categorize Mary alongside allegorical characters like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It is easy to forget that Mary was a real woman, a teenager no less. Mary was expected to follow the social norms and standards of the world she lived in. She was engaged to a good man and promised to remain chaste until after they were married. If brides today thought wedding planning was tough during a pandemic, imagine explaining that you were impregnated by immaculate conception to your patient fiancé.
“‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left her.”Luke 1:38
Mary surely had all the same emotions we all experience and I think it is safe to assume that she was left absolutely terror-stricken when the angel Gabriel appeared to her to inform her that she was now an unwed teen mother carrying the Son of God in her womb. I was terror-stricken when I found out I was expecting for the first time and I was a happily married woman in my late-20s with a full time job and decent health insurance. I think rather than focusing on the task of carrying a baby for nine months and the miracle of childbirth (not only in a manger, but pre-epidural), Mary’s story is really about trusting God.
Mary was only a teenager and had the maturity to put her full trust in the Lord. I’m sure this was not an easy thing to do, but it was what she was called to do. What we are called to do has never been guaranteed to be easy, but trusting the Lord will always pay off. I can confidently assume that everyone reading this has faced their fair share of trials this year. When Gabriel first appeared to Mary he told her that she was to name her baby Jesus, meaning savior. God never asked Mary to understand her situation or His plan for her, just as he doesn’t expect us to understand our current situations. God simply asks us to put our trust in Him and put our trust in salvation through Jesus Christ. As we celebrate the arrival of our savior this Christmas season, let go of your anxieties and replace them with trust that God has greater plans than we do and is preparing all of us for new life.
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