Forgive the religious fervor – I know you’re not that churchy, but it is Christmastime. Here is a part of the Advent devotion I wrote for our church this year. Hope you have a great new year!
Pregnancy and motherhood have changed me in many ways, both for the better and for the worse. One change is a new appreciation for Mary; I thought of her often during my pregnancy. I can sympathize much more with her plight, nine months pregnant, on the run, riding a donkey, staying in a stable. When I was nine months pregnant, walking three blocks to the El made me grumble. And now that I’m a mother, I think of Mary even more, and wonder what her life was like in those early years. Instead of the ubiquitous “What Would Jesus Do,” I find myself more often asking the question “What Would Mary Do?” Did Jesus ever have to go to timeout? Did Mary get tired of changing diapers, of getting up in the middle of the night? Was Jesus a picky eater? I think of how much I worry about the health and safety of my son, whom I am fairly certain is not the Messiah (but you wouldn’t know it to hear his grandparents talk), and wonder how Mary felt, in those years before antibiotics, bike helmets and vaccinations, knowing that she was responsible for keeping safe the one who had come to save all humankind. Every painting of Mary shows her calm, hair combed, clothes unstained, a serene look on her face, holding the infant Jesus, as if she happily cleaned the Biblical equivalent of crayons off her walls while softly humming the Magnificat under her breath. It is a standard to aspire to, but one I fall short of very often.