Here in Anticipation: Mary

She loved her child the moment the angel spoke to her. After it left her that night, darkness came back into the room quickly, and yet there was also a light she had never felt before. Mary was a mother that night and every night forever. Joseph would be confused. Elizabeth would be overjoyed. Some would praise God, while others would never speak to her again. There would be days when Mary would ask why she was chosen for this blessing. And there would be a day when she would kneel weeping before a cross, questioning why she was chosen for this pain. But as a young mother on that night, all of the miracles, parables, sermons, healings, and that cross were too far ahead to be imagined. She could not wait for unimaginable wonders. Instead, Mary hummed a soft lullaby to the child inside of her and waited for the morning’s light to come.IMG_1888

By the dim light of the stars, Mary’s eyes searched the room. She felt that everything had changed and yet the room seemed unaffected. A small bench was still under the window, with a basket at the end for carrying vegetables to the market. The water jug leaned against the doorframe to be used after the morning light came down. Her blanket lay rumpled at the end of her mat, fallen from when she stood and then kneeled before the angel. The night air was cold but she didn’t reach down to curl back to sleep. A few pieces of clothing and cookware filled in little nooks of her small room. Nothing special, nothing changed, nothing to declare to others that something brand new was to occur.

Since Mary could not imagine going back to sleep, she finally stepped away from her mat and over the broom in the back corner. She continued to hum a lullaby as she slowly drifted through the room, gathering dust and leaves that had come in during the day. Stepping inch by inch over familiar stones, Mary wondered if this would be the room where the child was born. She and Joseph had barely begun making plans for their life together, and now those plans would have to be changed. Freezing in the middle of the room, she feared how he would react to the news of a child. Would her fiancé believe her? Would he believe that she had been faithful and that God had blessed her with this child? Would anyone? The broom clattered the floor as Mary placed both hands over where she imagined the child was starting to grow.

She loved a child she could not see or feel or hear. He was hers now and forever. Fear was not going to take that away from him. She would somehow make Joseph believe her. And they would protect this child from anyone who would cause him harm. His life would matter. Mary’s life would be in service to God through loving this child with all that she was and would be. That resolved love pushed away the fear just as the first morning rays pushed away the night’s darkness.

Mary bent down to retrieve the broom and finish her work. This small room was her son’s first home. Someday he would practice walking by balancing against the bench. When he is older, he will carry a basket alongside her to the marketplace. And when she is tired, then he shall be sent out for the water. But the sweeping she will do. It will be her time to offer prayers over their home, wherever it is, and to hum lullabies for her beloved son.

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