Sunday, December 9, 2007

"Behold the Handmaid of the Lord."

I've been thinking about Mary. For some reason these last few months I have had a hard time thinking about Christ without thinking about her. Maybe that is the mother in me, or maybe it is that my favorite pieces at the Met were the Madonna and Childs.

When I think about Elisabeth we will have the entry about how difficult it is not to get pregnant when you want to get pregnant. That being said, I think Mary dealt with the news that Gabriel gave her pretty well. If you think about it there are three major things that could scare this "exceedingly fair and white" (1 Nephi 11:13) girl.

The Angel. Did you ever notice that Gabriel greets her, she sees him, and then she is "troubled," and not because there is an angel in her room (I am assuming it was a room), but because she is worried about what his business is. Why would Luke, and the translators include this? I think because it shows us more about her than meets the eye. Here's what thinking about it has shown me. She knew she was favoured, that the Lord was with her, and that she was blessed. Because that wasn't what startled her. Seeing the angel startled her, and not because he was an angel, but because she wondered what this "salutation" was going to lead to.

The News. Pregnancy is hard and scary enough when you deserve (because of your actions) to get pregnant. Luke records her reaction was "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man" (Luke 1:34) What about, "This is really going to worry my parents, and what about Joseph, who I am supposed to marry soon, and I'm kind of young don't you think? I don't think I'll be bearing any kings, and I kind of wanted to name my first son something else. Are you sure you came to the right Mary, there are a ton of us in these parts."

I would like to note that she did question the annunciation, just in a very virtuous, humble way. After she got the answer she needed, she said "Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy will" (Luke 1:38) Not, "This would be easier to do if I were already pregnant." Or, "You've got the wrong lady, Mister." She went to share the news and be pregnant with Elisabeth, who had a lot to do with Mary's ability to believe that it could happen.

The stuff you can think about. The rumors. The explanation. The change in life style. The pregnancy itself.

I would have you notice though, that even though she pondered "these" things, and kept them close to her heart, that didn't stop her from praising God. (You should read it, its pretty great Luke 1:46-55.)

Latter-day Saints don't worship Mary, but we do call her an "exemplar." And if you ask me that is a pretty good title for her. Don't you wish there was more information about her? What we can deduce is that she is amazing, and worthy of our thoughts. And I haven't even started on traveling on a donkey while 9 months pregnant, and being told there wasn't room for me, and having to give birth in a stable. And the whole time wishing that they didn't have to pay their stupid taxes so she could be having this baby in the comfort of her own home. And, oh, she has to raise the "Son of the Highest."

So, like the song says, "Who took the Mary out of Christmas?" I've enjoyed thinking about this, and have only shared a sliver of what I've been thinking about.
( The Image I used, Sinai, Icon with Annunciation, 12th century)


Tammy said...

Thanks Brecky,

I enjoyed this post. I always love to think about Mary too - she really does seem like a wonderful examplar of motherhood. I wish we knew more about her, and about all of the women we read about in the scriptures - but particuarly in the New Testiment.

I've been reading about the lives of the modern prophets lately, and there are so many wonderful insights/stories/experiences from their entire lives - I've found them so very inspiring - they make me feel like I can do better.
So I wish we had access to the insights/stories/experiences of those women too. I think, being a woman too, that their experiences/characters/actions would really help me to feel a kinship with them, and have a greater understanding of 'how' to be as good as I always fail to be :)

Oh well - what little we do have still teaches us an awful lot! Maybe when I've mastered what we've got so far, I'll get something new ;)

Merry Christmas Breck-Can-Cook!

xo Tammy.

PS. I always imagine the angel visiting Mary when she was sitting in the garden, because of that picture you see at church all the time :)

Lark said...

Mary the mother of the Savior was a great mother. She knew the God given potential of her child and raised him to meet that potential.

Keep trying to follow Mary's example and raise your children to meet their God given potential.