Christmas Through Her Eyes
Mary did you know?
Ever since becoming a mother, Christmas has taken on a different meaning for me. It isn’t just witnessing the excitement of Santa and Christmas morning through my innocent children’s glittering eyes. The sentiment has nothing to do with creating new traditions with our family, or the way it has changed our time together during the holidays. Christmas has changed for me, since having children- as a woman, as a mother.
Now, when trees go up and my house fills with Christmas music, when I go to latch on my son, I think of Mary.
Historical figures, particularly ones with such infamy as the Madonna and Jesus, tend to feel very storied, removed from us, two thousand years later. Yet, after I had my children, when Christmas approaches, I feel a real perspective on this young, afraid, teenaged girl. No matter your faith, the fact is, historically, Mary was human- flesh and blood real. So were her worries and hopes and fears for her profoundly human, miracle son.
As I stare at my children, nourishing them with my breast, praying my hopes and dreams over them, I wonder if she felt this way too. When I watch my husband lift my four year old daughter, her arms straining with excitement, to place the star on top of the tree, I feel such a connection. This star topping the tree- the star of David which held such hope for this small child laying in Mary’s arms- thousands of years later we still symbolize and revere it- and mothers around the world sit underneath its light and hold their children close.
Mary Did You Worry?
One of the things I tell new parents, is the worry that comes with being a parent. I’m not a worrier, so the new anxieties I felt after my daughter was born shocked me. So now warn my friends, “you will never worry more about anything in your entire life.”
With Christmas, I find myself thinking about the birth of Jesus. Often, I wonder to myself, “Mary, did you worry?” Did you worry about your milk supply? About whether or not you would become a good mother? Did you worry whether he slept enough? Or did you count wet and soiled nappies to make sure he was eating enough? I cannot imagine the pressure. Knowing, of all the little people who grow to impact the world, the tiny, fragile babe you held in your arms would impact the world the most.
I think about how mothers today agonize over making their nursery perfect, having everything their baby needs. Then there was Mary, so incredibly young, chosen by God- in a STABLE, laying her child on a bed of straw. How profound. How humbling.
Mary Did You Dream?
Every mother, feeling their infant quicken within their womb, dreams for their child. We dream and imagine for our babe, wondering about the life they will live. We hope it will be a fulfilling life. But we also dream that our fragile infants will grow into kind, brave, authentic, intelligent human beings. What did Mary dream for Jesus, I wonder? Did she know the miracles he would perform? Did she know he would be loved? Forsaken? When I hear the song “Mary Did You Know?” (Pentatonix is my favorite version), I wonder. Now, knowing the love of a parent for a child, how would it feel to know the dreams you hold for your son are not your own?
Mary, did you know
That your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
That your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
That your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?
Mary were you lonely?
Motherhood is a lonely road. Every mother, in her hopes and worry and love, has at one point, felt completely alone in her parenting journey. I wonder, with this new husband, shepherds, kings, and wise-men traveling months to meet this Son of God in a Manger- Mary, did you feel Lonely? Did you have support? You were so young- was anyone there to show you the way, or were you winging it, hoping to scrape by with a wish and a prayer- and your faith that God will provide?
Mary Did You Know?
So Mary, did you know, as you held your infant son, the life he would lead? How, with his birth, he would change the world, change history? How did you feel in that moment, as you latched him on for the very first time, nursing life into him? Did you feel, as I felt, the pride and joy and unspeakable love a mother feels for their child?
Now when I think of Mary, I do not think of a biblical figure, stoic and celebrated and pictured for years. Now when I think of Mary, I think of a woman, a child, and the hope of new life.
What a wonderful way to end the new year, with the hope of a new life, the joy of renewal, with the spirit of acceptance and unconditional love we feel for our children (and if we believe, from our God).
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Hopeful New Year to you from Breastfeeding World!
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