Pain. Searing, burning pain. Inward, outward, consuming her. With final groan of agony the child comes forth into this cold rejecting world. Small, weak, needing her. Needing her nourishment, her warmth, her love and her care. His small, fragile life dangles, depending on her for survival. And yet as she looks down into her babes face she knows. It is not his survival that hangs in the balance. It is her own. This tiny helpless babe needing her care in order to live, is the one and only thing that can save her.
I can't imagine being Mary. One moment she was his mother. His world. Her milk nourished him. Her warmth comforted him. Her touch calmed him. To this tiny baby, she was everything. She was his world.
Then all too soon, she wasn't.
I wonder when it hit her. Was it when Simeon came to her in the temple? This old man, a stranger, waiting before death for one thing. Was it when he held her child and said that his eyes were beholding salvation?
Or maybe she began to understand when she found her lost son in the temple, speaking with the religious leaders and "being about his father's business." Did it stab at her heart in a way to hear him say that?
How do you parent the Son of God anyways? Was there an inward struggle as she sought to teach and train and raise him, but knowing that he would be the one to teach her? She was his mother. She was his everything......but she wasn't. He was her everything.
Then the miracles. He could do things, heal people, change things that were out of her control. That moment of desperation when all she wanted to do was fix the problem and the only one who could truly fix it was her son, the child that had depended on her for survival. Was there ever irritation or frustration that he was so much more than her? Did she ever want to shrink away because of how small she felt in comparison to her son?
Then the cross. I can't imagine the agony. Her son, her child who she loved with every ounce of human love, there hanging on a cross. And she down below, helpless to save him.
One moment he was a babe, needing her, depending on her for his very survival, the next moment, nailed to a tree, suffering in agony and there is absolutely nothing she can do.
She can't reach up and pull him to safety in her arms.
She can't ease the pain with a kiss.
She can't wrap him in a blanket and cuddle him.
But she can watch.
And as her heart screams in torrents of pain, she looks up and sees her son, her Savior, on that cross. Her precious, beautiful babe, is on that tree saving her, saving the world.
Then it hits her.
The realization that she put him there.
Her little baby that she nursed and held and loved, the one thing that she wanted to save and protect more than anything in the world, she had nailed to the cross. That moment of utter desperation as she falls before her son, wanting only to rescue him from the agony, to save him from such pain, but being helpless to do so because that is the only way through which she herself might be saved.
He is saving her.
Small and weak.
Her life depends on him.
Her very survival depends on him.
The roles are switched.
Her son is more than just a babe. Her son is His Son. The Son of God. The Savior of the world. The Savior of Mary.
And she must let Him go for her own sake and the sake's of millions of billions of people in the span of time. She must release her precious child for the calling for which He came. When everything in her screams at her to pull him close and never let him go, that is when she must release Him. She is His mother, but He is her Savior and she is utterly helpless, lost, eternally dead without Him. He is her only Salvation.
That tiny little child came to die for her, to save her from herself.
The one thing she so desperately wanted to cling to was the very thing she had to let go.
Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep and then she had to watch Him die.
Isn't that the essence of Christmas? Isn't that what we should be celebrating? Christmas is so much more than the baby. Christmas is about death and life and salvation made free.