Devotion for December 17, 2020, from Pastor Tia Pelz of Christ the King:
Mary was a perfectly normal girl, a perfectly normal woman, like you and me. Well, Josef wouldn’t agree with that, of course. After all, he fell in love with her and no other. Anna and Joachim would certainly see it differently, their daughter is of course something special. But for everyone else she was just Mary.
Until she became a mother. We only learn things about her from the Bible that have to do with her motherhood. It’s actually amazing that she even has her own name. Most women in the Bible are simply called “The wife of XY” or “The mother of YZ”. The wife of Joseph, the mother of Jesus. When my kids have playdates, the other children often just call me “Theo’s and Toni’s mom”! Important is the name of their friend, I’m just the mom.
I didn’t care about Mary for many years. She was the epitome of an inflated ideal of a mother. The always-smiling-never-in-a-bad-mood-never-complaining-mom. One half of the “most holy couple” from Silent Night, Holy Night. What could she possibly mean to me?
It is different now. I came to appreciate her. Mary cannot control how others talk about her and what is written about her. If she was alive today, she would have to keep listening to how strong she is. “I couldn’t do that!”, people would keep telling her admiringly. “You are so strong!” But also: “You chose it that way. You wanted children. But what about your first one again? There were rumors about the fatherhood … And that he got into such trouble, well, something must have gone wrong in his upbringing. Maybe you spoiled him too much?!”
I like the thought that Mary is like one of us. Not stronger, not holier, not meeker. She didn’t choose to raise the Savior of the world. I wouldn’t want to trade places with her.
And “You are so strong, I couldn’t do that” is a compliment I would like to delete from our vocabulary. Because it prevents anyone from getting help. Because it causes us to take circumstances for granted. Because it leaves people alone with their supposed strengths. Mothers are only humans, too. Even Mary.
Blessings, Pastor Tia