Monday, June 29, 2009
Mary's Little Boy
My daughter and her family recently relocated to North Carolina to be closer to me. Right now they are spending some time with me while they arrange for housing, job transfers and, possibly, new employment. It is such a joy to have my grandsons around--to listen to their stories and to be a daily part of their lives.
I must say, though, that I had forgotten what a handful little boys can be. My home is now filled with cars, trucks, Transformers, Star Wars figures, video games, legos, marbles, swords and shields, in addition to Veggie Tale movies, Ironman, Batman and Superman. Zorro and the Man In the Iron Mask round out their favorites. A lot of pretending to be any of the above mentioned superheroes takes place along with acting out their favorite Bible characters such as King David (their personal favorite), Moses, Noah and Daniel. I have heard more Bible stories recently than I have in years. I have also had more hugs and kisses, more snuggling, and more "I love you" said to me than I could ever imagine. This is the joy of children--this is what makes the world a wonderful place to be. The unconditional love of a child is worth more than all of earth's treasures.
As I slipped upstairs, long after they were in their beds, just to catch a glimpse of their sleeping faces, I wondered about another little boy. I wondered if his mother ever just sat and watched him sleep not knowing the awful death she would watch Him endure. I wondered about Mary's little boy.
We are so programmed to think of Jesus as the Son of God--the last Lamb of Calvary--the one who gave His life so we might live free from the bondage of sin. We think of Him as the healer, the deliverer, the miracle worker and, indeed, He was all of those things. He was, to all who followed Him, more than just a man. He was flesh and bone, yet He carried within Him the divine genetics of His father. He was the Son of God but He was also Mary's little boy--a fact we often overlook.
I am sure that, to the casual observer, Jesus was just like any other child. I know He must have laughed and cried, wanting His mother to kiss away His hurts. I am sure there were times He was as mischievious as all His other boyhood friends. The carpenter shop must have rung with his childish laughter and Mary and Joseph surely laughed along with Him. Did He run along the shores of Galilee with His cousin, John, before they were old enough to fulfill their destinies? And, I wonder, did Mary slip to the side of His bed, just to gaze lovingly upon the face of her child while He slept?
Later, did Mary watch with a sense of dread as her son left to begin a ministry that would surely lead to His own sacrifice? How many times did she cry out to the Divine Father of her child and beg Him to change His plans? How deep was her agony at the possiblity that each time she saw her son, it could very well be her last? Finally, how many times did she have to yield her fears, her dreads, her mother's desire to spare her son---how many times did she yield to the will of God?
In the movie, "The Passion of the Christ", there is a scene that depicts Mary's heart so beautifully. As Jesus stumbles under the weight of the cross, Mary is watching. Her mind flashes back to a memory of Jesus as a child--the child stumbles and falls. Mary immediately rushes to Him, picks Him up and says, "Mother is here.". How she must have yearned to rush to Him as He fell beneath the wooden cross, wipe away the bloody sweat from His brow, throw her arms of love around Him and whisper, "Mother is here". But she could not. Mary had to do the unthinkable--she had to leave her son alone--she had to let Him die so that you and I would have a chance for eternal life, free of the chains of our sinful nature.
I only have one son. He has been such a joy to me and has filled my life with beautiful memories from his birth until this very day. I cannot imagine a life without John in it. To those who have lost a child I can only say that I cannot begin to think of the awful pain and sorrow it must surely bring to your heart. When I think of Mary and the awfulness of watching her only child suffer and die on a cross, my heart breaks and I cannot stop the tears from falling. I am sure the memories of a lifetime flooded her mind during the six hours Jesus hung on the cross. I am certain she thought of every detail of His life with her and mourned His death in a way that no one else could.
When I think of these things, the mess on my living room floor doesn't seem so bad. The whirlwind of superheroes and the Veggie Tales blaring throughout the house becomes so much more tolerable. The little hands that reach for mine, the child's arms that wrap themselves around my neck, the sticky fingerprints on the piano keys--all remind me that there is nothing more precious than a child's life. How wonderful it is to be loved by a child! I have been so blessed by my children and now to have grandchildren--it is an additional blessing I love and cherish.
Tonight I will make my way up the stairs, quietly as I can, and I will look at the faces of two little boys. I will sit there and watch them sleep for a while. I will watch their little chests rise and fall just to make sure they are breathing okay. I will lean over and kiss their cheeks lightly so that, God forbid, I won't wake them. I will thank God for them and the blessing of their love. Then I will thank God for another little boy--a little boy who loved me enough that He was willing to die for me--a little boy who became the reason I am called a child of
God--a little boy named Jesus. Mary's little boy.