I am a mom of little boys. Being the mother of sticky-fingered messes, bruised knees, and dirty clothes gives me a deeper and richer perspective of Mary and how she treasured the birth of Jesus and hid it deep within her heart.

I treasure all these moments now and tuck them away deep within my heart, too.

I know there will come a day when my little boys will become big, and they’ll no longer want to marry me or crawl onto my lap to snuggle. When some other (younger) lucky lady will have the privilege of having his fingers brush through her hair and lean his face close to hers. And I pray she also will love him as fiercely and as deeply as I do. I treasure all these memories and moments deep within my heart because I know these moments are fast and fleeting.

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Soon that babe wrapped in swaddling cloths would be cooing, crawling, toddling, walking, and then running right out of Mary’s arms. The heavy weight of infant needs seems long and exhausting at the moment, mamas, but they are short-lived over the course of our baby’s firsts. First words. First steps. First friends. First days of school. First start of success. First sports games, driving tests, and graduations. First broken heart. First joys of discovering their place and purpose in God’s world. 

Perhaps Mary treasured all these things in her heart because she knew her baby was a gift not just for her. Just like our own glorious gifts of beating hearts, soft baby skin, and tiny fingers wrapped around oursnot ours to fully keep but graciously given us to fully love and then give back to God.

Soon Mary’s baby would grow into the burden of saving His people (even us and our own babies) from their sins. And although the angel prepared Mary’s heart for this, I’m sure in all her mothering she never imagined the kind of suffering this saving would require from her boy.

The cross stands as a shadow over the newborn in the manger.

Not as some morbid token of death or some necessary evil. But as a testimony of how great our human need and how deep God’s love would go. His saving would require suffering of the unimaginable kind, and still, He would pour out His life unto death to give us this gift of life. And not just life. But life eternal when He will wipe away all our tears and where death and suffering have no room to exist.

This kind of love He pours into our own mothering hearts so we can turn around and pour the love, which we have ourselves received, into the way we love, correct, guide and raise our own babies. We understand the gift of love and the hope of raising little boys when we understand the purpose of why Mary’s boy was born. 

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As mothers we cannot anticipate the kinds of suffering or sacrifice our children will walk in this life. And as much as our mother hearts will someday, and at some moment, break because of the suffering our children will walk through, we will not grieve as those who have no hope.

No. Because like Mary we understand no baby stays newborn forever. Mary’s baby would grow up to be the most important gift given to us all. And in His suffering and sacrifice, our own children will be saved. And more than our mothers’ hearts could ever hope or imagine God’s love for our boys runs deeply and more fiercely than our own love could ever hold.

This Christmas, I thank God for Mary’s boy.

Because of Jesus my own bruise-kneed, sticky-fingered little boys have the hope of life for now and into forever. This Christmas, I tuck all the memories of their little fingers running through my hair and their little bodies snuggling into mine deep inside my heart. And I embrace this year’s holiday moments and commit them to memory because Mary’s baby boy changes the way I hold my own little boys close at Christmastime.

 

 

Beth Sickel

Beth Sickel is a God-seeking pastor's wife and mama to her four favorite little people. She loves coffee, cooking, and all things outdoors. Beth blogs and speaks about creating space for Jesus—conversations to burst in wonder in your hearts and homes.