Monday, December 17, 2012

December {week 3}: "Mindful of My Humble State"

{An edited and re-gifted re-post from December, 2010}


Recently I was at a Christmas gathering and we were all asked this question: "If you could have coffee with any person in history, who would it be?" I couldn't choose just one person but C.S. Lewis was certainly on the list. And Bono. After I thought more about it this morning, however, I decided on Mary. 

I don't know why we know so little about Mary. She is, after all, the one who birthed the Savior of the world. 

How long was she in labor and how badly did it hurt? Did Jesus cry that robust, red-faced, newborn wail when He left the warmth and comfort of her womb? Who tended to her after the labor and delivery? There was no mention of a mid-wife and I can't imagine that Joseph would have a clue. Did she doubt whether she'd really seen and heard the angel of the Lord? Did she wonder if she was crazy, wonder if it had perhaps all been a dream? What were all of those thoughts she "treasured up" and "pondered in her heart?"

This side of Heaven, I won't know. But today with new eyes and a needy heart, I gazed upon the few words we do have in Luke 1. Commentators call it "Mary's Song."
My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.

{emphasis mine}
That Mary's words find resonance with a 21st-century mama just struggling through the everyday with her own baggage...well, God's word is so faithful. Today I have been especially mindful of my own humble, servant-like state. I cried when my husband left for work this morning, overwhelmed by the mess and the children but mostly overwhelmed by my own inadequate self.

The inadequacy. It waxes and wanes depending on the day but oh, there are times when I am simply swallowed up by it and it seems there's no way out, no glimpse of grace. The tears have flowed freely and the frustration has shot my nerves to pieces and it is in my swallowed-up state that I long to be rescued.

Still in pajamas, still recovering from tantrum-throwing toddler, still staring at heaped-up clothes in every room of the house, the older two and I, we finally sit at the oak table to gather ourselves in so many ways. And we sit 'round our first-ever Jesse Tree, our very own family's "shoot" pointing to the Savior, despite days of feeling stunted and broken and stump-like.

More than a few days behind, I read and I read, story after story, as tears burned and heart ached and children stared at me...crazy, crying mama. We read of destitute Naomi and desperate Ruth and Rahab the prostitute {my favorite,} all broken-down women who only God could make great and who humbly took their places in the line that would eventually bring Jesus into the world.

Is it any wonder that He felt so at home among the lowly and the beaten-down? He came out of them and He also came unto them. Only God would do such a crazy, wonderful, upside-down and inside-out thing.

Sometimes I simply need to know that I am in good company and maybe you need to know it too. I need to know that the Savior of the world is also the Savior of this weary housewife and the Redeemer of rotten days. I need to know, like Mary and her inadequate sisters in the faith, that He is mindful of my humble state, that his mercy extends to me and that the only greatness that matters is that which the Lord raises up out of nothing.

Mary's song is for all of us.

I pray that grace and strength and fresh hope will be yours and mine during this third week of Advent.


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