So you wanna hear a funny story? About a month ago I was at a second-hand shop (about the only kind of shopping I enjoy, besides online shopping) and I found this nativity scene. I’d been wanting to buy one ever since we got married but somehow 6 years passed and I just never did.
This particular nativity scene was my style and the price was right, so I went for it. A week or so later as I started decorating the house for Christmas I happily set it up on a prominent shelf. I carefully unwrapped each figurine, putting it where it belonged (with perhaps a bit less perfectionism than I had when I was little and would proudly take over the job each year of setting up our family’s nativity scene).
Once the set was on display, I noticed something didn’t look quite right. “Are you sure there isn’t another figure in the box?” I asked my nephew who was visiting at the time and helping decorate. “Nope, that’s all of them!” he replied.
There I stared at my incomplete nativity scene. Mary was missing!
No wonder it was at a second-hand shop, I thought. Why did I not notice that while I was still at the store?
I chuckled at the irony of it all. A Christmas nativity set without Mary! Oh well, that’s not the end of the world…good thing it’s all about Jesus anyways!
But wait…what would Christmas be without Mary?
Anyone who is familiar with the Bible knows that God used the most unlikely people to do the most incredible things. Like choosing a young virgin to be the mother of God-in-baby-form.
But what if Mary hadn’t said yes on the day the angel visited her?
What if she hadn’t submitted herself to God and asked for His will to be done in her life?
If Mary was missing, would God have chosen someone else to be the mother of His Son?
We can’t answer any of these “what if” questions because the fact is, Mary DID said yes.
Isn’t all of motherhood a continuous response of “yes”?
It starts with saying, “yes, I will carry through with this pregnancy and give birth to this child.”
Then the first year is filled with a million little “yes’s” – yes to getting up in the middle of the night for the dozenth time. Yes to rocking your infant to sleep even though your own body aches with weariness. Yes to answering his cries by nursing him. Yes to changing her diaper yet again.
Dear friend, how many times have you said “yes” today?
Believe me, I understand what a sacrifice it can be. There are days where I wish I could just STOP doing the laundry, stop cleaning, stop cooking, stop planning, stop looking after my kids. But yet I know that it is the countless YES’s that my children will remember.
I look back on my own childhood and am humbled to see how often my own parents said yes, even when it was a sacrifice for them. Yes to driving me places, even though it was inconvenient. Yes to letting me wear Disney PJ’s (which I was convinced were a normal shirt and pants) to my dad’s staff Christmas party. Yes to allowing my brother and I to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Of course it is healthy and important to set boundaries for ourselves and for our children, but the calling of Motherhood is an invitation to KEEP. SAYING. YES.
When an angel announced to Mary that she – a virgin! – would become pregnant, her natural response was “How can this be?”
How often, in my years of mothering, have I had the same exasperated question: “How can this be?”
How can it be that my child is sick again?
How can I survive another sleepless night?
Why won’t my baby nap for longer than 20 minutes?
Will my husband and I ever have another date night again?
The angel’s answer provided Mary with all the hope and strength she needed for her pregnancy, and offers the same thing to us mothers today.
Mary knew that although she was chosen, she couldn’t do it alone. She was young and didn’t have a clue about motherhood, and even though she was raising GOD as a son, it doesn’t mean it was always easy for her. Yet it was her humble willingness to serve that enabled her to keep saying yes.
And YOU, Mama, were chosen to be the Mother of your children.
Allow me to go back to my story of the nativity scene for a moment…
When my sister-in-law heard of the “plight of the missing Mary” she bid on a figurine on E-bay for me. I happened to also find something, so we ended up with 2 Marys.
The problem was, neither one of them fit. They were both much too small in comparison to the other figures.
Well lo and behold, I returned to the second-hand shop the other day, and there was Mary sitting on the shelf. She had been there all along; I had just forgotten to take her the day I bought the set.
Dear Friend, there is only one Woman who fits into the role of Mama to your children and Wife to your husband, and that is YOU. No other “Mary” can take your place.
God has placed you in the family you are in (including the in-laws you have and with whatever family dynamics may exist!) for a reason.
This Christmas season where a lot seems to be demanded of us woman (plan/buy/wrap presents, host, cook, etc.), I encourage you to keep saying yes, even when it’s a sacrifice. Don’t try to people please (and please don’t burn yourself out!) but allow your “yes” to be a response to Jesus Himself. It is HIS BIRTH that we are celebrating this weekend, and He is the ultimate example of saying yes and giving of Himself.[
Say yes this Christmas to your kids, your family, your neighbours, needy friends, knowing that the POWER of the Most High God overshadows you in whatever you do.