Like the Virgin Mary

The Holy Family–I rocked my baby to sleep on Christmas Night, walking around my darkened room, humming to him, and feeling his soft body relaxing in my arms. I thought of Mary holding baby Jesus that first night he was born. What did she feel? How did she sleep knowing the magnitude of what she knew would happen with this baby she brought into the world?

I used to think of Jesus’ birth as I had learned in school and read in the Bible. Just a brief explanation of the most important birth story in the universe. Luke 2:6-7 says: “The time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for her in the inn.”

 After having kids and learning about labor and delivery, I now spend time thinking about Mary as a mother. I fill in gaps about the actual birth and who was there. Did anyone help Joseph and Mary to give birth? Was it a long labor? Did she too feel the powerful pain? The magic? The utter joy at seeing her baby emerge from her? What were those first days of motherhood like for Mary?

I find strength in thinking that Mary nursed Jesus, sang to him, changed him, kissed him, and nurtured him as I try to do with my babies. But what can I learn from her, the most famous mother figure known to us?

I look to Mary to learn how to listen to God’s word and do as He says for my life. Let it be done onto me as you see fit dear Lord. But also to learn to be a better mother. I think of the kind of love she showed Jesus. Of how she formed him, taught him and guided him. Did she have to discipline him? What if I raised my children as if they were Jesus? What a challenge. I also wonder if she had sleepless nights, with baby Jesus teething or going through a growth spurt? Even if she didn’t, I look to her for strength. I admire her, love her, and smile thinking about her rocking baby Jesus to sleep, as my baby finally falls asleep in my arms.

Painting is one of my favorites, by Pompeo Batoni. I love how Jesus looks at her, and reaches up to her as she plays with his foot. 

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