Artist’s Lane: Mary, did you know?

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    By Betty Slade
    PREVIEW Columnist

    She was a teenager when she learned her life would change forever. The voice of a visitor with a heaven-sent message would have been enough to shake anyone at their core. But, for the one who was betrothed, it was a moment of excitement and anticipation. 

    Learning that she would conceive a son, as a young mother to-be, her mind must have been flooded with dreams and desires. To be obedient meant to submit to the purpose of the promised one. 

    With little thought and not knowing the road ahead, a commitment was made. “Let it be to me according to your word.” 

    There was a decree, then a long haul on a path of dirt and rocks. The journey would have been difficult enough if not on the back of a donkey, let alone if about to give birth. 

    I can’t imagine what it must have felt like to be Mary, to have every door closed in your face. Where finding comfort befitting the lowly would otherwise be the least likely of anything desired. 

    For anyone else, such a journey would have been accompanied by a song of despair. Not so for the one who would give birth to the blessed child. To the mother who first laid her son in a manger, hers would be one of hope and promise. 

    Sheep baaing and cattle mooing is anything but soothing to the tired and weary. I’m not sure I would’ve placed my trust in the smelly, splintering cradle where Mary laid Jesus. But for her, it was all part of the commitment she made, one that she would see through to the very end.

    As it is for us today, others in the days of biblical times were also asked to make a commitment to the life they would be given. 

    Hannah bore a son and named him Samuel. He grew up under the authority of a man who didn’t know how to rule his own children. Even under those circumstances, God made him a great prophet, someone venerated by the Jews as a communicator between God and his people. 

    Then, Elizabeth. She was given a son named John. He would be the voice of a new economy, the one called the prophet of the highest. His calling was to prepare the way by revealing the knowledge of salvation, even in the most challenging of wilderness. 

    Did they know that their surrender to God was part of delivering a promise to a dying world? Did Mary know that her son would live a blameless life yet be hated by the masses? Did she know that her son would live a life absent of blemish, yet be scarred and battered beyond recognition?

    As the words from a familiar song say, “Did you know, that your baby boy has come to make you new? That this child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.”

    Final brushstroke: As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, what commitment is being asked of you? What do you need to deliver as you carry the knowledge of Jesus, without regard for the pain and trials that may plague you? Are you willing to say, “Let it be to me according to your word?”

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