I first felt a kinship with Mary back in December 1990. I was six months pregnant with my first son, Taylor. Every time I looked at a Nativity scene, I'd think, "Wow! She was pregnant with her first son, just like me!" Mary became a very real person to me that year. She wasn't just a statue in a Catholic church or in someones front yard. She wasn't just the name of a character in a story that some people find highly improbable. She was a real, live, living, breathing, flesh and blood person! A real woman. A real young woman. A young woman chosen by God himself to carry the Messiah! Can you imagine? Out of all the women on earth at the time, a simple girl named Mary, betrothed to a simple carpenter named Joseph, was chosen to give birth to the Savior of the world!
As my sons have grown over the years, I've continued to feel that kinship with Mary. I know the fear she felt when Jesus was twelve years old and they lost track of him in Jerusalem. I'm certain all sorts of terrible imaginings flashed through her mind those three days they searched for him. I can almost feel her tangible relief--and anger--when they found him in the temple, safe and sound. I know the pride she must have felt as he continued in his "dad's" carpentry business and the disappointment when he left for his own ministry. And though I've never experienced the loss of one of my sons--and I pray I never do!!--my heart aches for Mary when I think of her having to witness Jesus' horrific death on the cross. I believe she knew at that point that He was the Messiah, but I also believe she looked at his bruised and broken body and saw only her little boy. Oh, the pain she felt watching her son die, but oh, the joy when He rose from the dead as her Savior!
Mary was a woman, a wife, a mother. A daughter, a sister, a friend. She was NOT just a name in the Bible or a statue on someones lawn.