Friday, December 14, 2012

Mary, Mother of Jesus

Like several other recent HI bloggers, I found myself on my blog's eve without a blog. But as you know, a writer is never without words, new or old. So I share here one of the first person stories from my book, Women of the Last Supper (4th edition, 2012). At this time of year when we joyfully celebrate the glories of Christmas, it seems appropriate to remember the story of Mary, Jesus' amazing mother. . . . Enjoy and Christmas Blessings!
This is my photo of a magnificent in-laid wood portrayal
hanging on the wall of the Air Force Academy Chapel
in Colorado Springs which I visited during Thanksgiving.
See my Facebook cover photo for the whole portrayal.
 Mary, Mother of Jesus
I am Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus. Yes, I was a mother uniquely blessed, but also one acquainted with deepest grief.
           My soul still magnifies the Lord when I recall the extraordinary events of my life. For whoever would have thought on that first Christmas that Yahweh would choose someone from Nazareth to bring into the world the Messiah – Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer!
Joseph’s family and mine were from the Tribe of Judah. We were both descendants of the royal line of David. Had we lived before the terrible wars and captivities of the Jewish people, we would have been called Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.
Ponder that a moment – makes the title Prince of Peace for my son Jesus more meaningful, doesn’t it?
Ah yes, because of Jesus, our family life was divinely blessed, with never a dull moment. Looking back, I can see that for years he practiced telling parables and working miracles on us – and on other people and even animals.
So it’s not surprising that in time, Jesus’ woodworking skills surpassed even Joseph’s. I remember the day he told his disciples that his “yoke was easy.”  I couldn’t help smiling as I thought of the Galilean men who waited months to purchase yokes carved by Jesus. He was famous for his yokes that made burden bearing so much easier for oxen, as well as humans.
While life with Jesus was wonderful, I’d be wrong to give the impression it was stress-free. Remember the time he stayed in Jerusalem at the Holy Temple, and frightened Joseph and me so? Nor was that the last time I didn’t know where he was for days or even weeks at a time. But I learned not to worry, and to commit him to God, his true Father in heaven.
Like everyone else, I wasn’t sure how Jesus’ divine calling to deliver his people would be manifested. I kept waiting and watching and wondering. Then one day at a wedding reception feast in Cana, I felt something within compelling me to urge Jesus to reveal his heavenly purpose.
If you aren’t familiar with the story, review it in my nephew John’s Gospel. The wording is somewhat puzzling, but the outcome is clear. In spite of his reluctance, Jesus’ divine ministry began publicly with that miraculous water-to-wine wedding event.
From then on, the few years left to Jesus on earth passed so quickly.
As you might expect, right from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, I was his most loyal follower – and one of his first women disciples. Yes, Jesus had his band of twelve men disciples. But as the Gospels state, there were many others who were also his close disciples, including numerous women.
When you read the Gospels carefully, you will note that many of us women were with Jesus right before his last Passover supper with the Twelve. And we were there right after the Last Supper, as well as throughout the dreadful events that followed. So where were we women disciples during the Last Supper?
Don’t you suppose we were there then too, together with the men and Jesus? Don’t you suppose we prepared the Passover and served it as we had served countless other meals?
Of course, we were there, as ancient paintings of the Last Supper in Europe portray so magnificently. We just weren’t there in da Vinci’s famous mural on the wall of the monastery dining hall in Milan – the artwork that has dominated perceptions for far too long.
On that unforgettable Passover night, in my heart I sensed Jesus would not become our Messiah in the way we had expected. He would not become a human King of the Jews. When he was put on trial for blasphemy, and then so cruelly tortured and crucified, my soul was pierced. Ah, what agony! Just as Simeon had prophesied decades before.
But I never stopped trusting. I knew Yahweh would  keep His promise to me and to all the world. And God did, through His Holy Son, who was also my beloved son – my precious baby born on the first Christmas who became the risen Lord and Savior of all who believe.
Yes, I was an ordinary person transformed by God's power. You, too, can experience this transformation, and live or die for the glory of the Kingdom!


  1. A special FB friend of mine tried to post the following comment but wasn't successful, so I'm posting it for her as her insights are so meaningful. I don't think she'll mind my sharing with you that her beloved father, a missionary doctor in Taiwan for many years, who retired in Australia, went to heaven yesterday. He was a wonderful, dedicated physician and godly man. . .

    Deb Nicholls-Haberkorn (posted on FB 12-14-12):
    I wanted to leave a comment on your blogspot, but apparently my name/url has illegal characters in it! Therefore, I loved the Christmas card and The artwork that dominated our perceptions was magnificent, but human. God's creation never left out a single person; that's one lesson I learned from this lovely account. Second lesson; as Creator, He had the right to make us equal in our access to Him, even at the dinner table. Third lesson (and not the last!) We are transformed and our new purpose for living is for His glory - His message. Thanks for the meditation.

  2. First, great article. Thanks for sharing it.

    I do have a crit, though. You did mix the Hebrew name for God, Yahweh, with the Gentile renderings for Jesus and Joseph (Hebrew contains no "J"). Additionally, no Jew at that time would call God by His name Yahweh. Mary would have said the Lord, possibly using the Hebrew equivalent Adonai or the Greek counterpart Kurios. Jews in reading Scripture always insert "Adonai" in place of "Yahweh" because they aren't worthy to say God's name.

    Related -- the Complete Jewish Bible often makes that substitution, and if you read Ezra and Nehemiah, you'll notice that Yahweh (written in English as LORD or when used with Adonai [Lord], then as the Lord GOD -- all caps) is used by the narrator, but when quoting speeches, Adonai is the more common word used.

    Don't let this detract from saying this is a great blog. Thanks for sharing the interesting insights.

    1. Thanks, Jeff! Great obs! They're points I considered while writing (over many years), and then chose to write as I did for English speaking/reading audiences of our day. . . :-)

  3. This Christmas, we should be particularly thankful for Mary's obedience and faithfulness, right? Motherhood is challenging. Her motherhood was off the charts form the beginning!