I can’t even handle it. Kris told me the other night that it is pregnancy hormones again…maybe it is, but he seems to be saying that a lot lately and I’m starting to think that’s just his go to answer.
This meme has been going around all forms of social media:
and it has been driving me absolutely bonkers. BONKERS! I tried to tell Kris about it, but that’s when he said that I was too worked up over it and #pregnancyhormones.
Warning: rant ahead.
I get that this meme is about a song. I get that this meme is about the fact that Mary knew who Jesus was (God’s son) and so the song taken at face value doesn’t make the most theological sense, but here’s the thing: Give Mary a break.
I feel like we have created this person of Mary to be so lofty that we completely forget her humanness. She is always pretty, always compliant, always accepting of whatever crap gets thrown her way…just look at her sitting in every single manger scene ever. Sitting perfectly, in a nice blue smock with a look that clearly says, “I got this.” She is like the quintessential pastor’s wife.
Get it guurrrl.
But what about Mary as a human? What about Mary as a mom? What about Mary as a young girl?
Have we ever stopped to consider what it might have actually been like to be Mary? And on that note…that maybe Mary wasn’t okay…that maybe Mary was a little bit messed up?
That maybe there was a reason Mary wanted Jesus to turn the water into wine so badly at the wedding? Kidding!
I’ve really been mulling this over for a few weeks now. Was Mary okay?
Brief History Time!
- Mary was told as a young, engaged girl that she was pregnant and would be carrying the Christ child.
- She was forced to leave her home, friends, family and travel with her new husband BY DONKEY WHILE PREGNANT to a new place.
(I thought traveling by train at 8 months pregnant was impressive. Darn Mary, always showing me up.)
- She was told there was no room for her and gave birth in a barn. (Okay, or a living room, but it was a living room that they brought animals into at night. As a lady, I still call barn on this one. If you have no idea what I’m talking about you can read this link HERE and it will fill you in.)
- She was immediately visited by shepherds (and can I just say we totally romanticize that. I don’t know one pregnant woman who would love to have strangers show up to her birthing suite smelling like sweat, bringing animals and saying that they had divine reason for being there. You bet I would have been all over hospital security.
#reason 4,102 that God did not pick me to be Mary.)
- Then, apparently she didn’t get to go home; no, she got to become a refugee for a couple of years in Egypt. Lovely. But you know, she was Mary; she probably just took some extra time to visit the pyramids.
- Fast forward and she LOSES the Christ child for like 3 days…that can’t feel too good. (Psst, Mary, they sell leashes down at Baby’s R Us. Save yourself the trouble and ask for a “safety harness,” and they’ll hook you up. Apparently “leash” is frowned upon. They work wonders until your child tries to run from you and you pull the leash and they do a complete spin around in the air and face plant on the ground and then strangers call CPS on you because, well, you put your child on a leash. But I digress. Just get one. You’ll never lose that precious cherub again.)
- Fast forward again and her cousin Elizabeth’s son is murdered. Elizabeth wasn’t just her cousin, but her mom friend…and people, mom friends are special; mom friends’ babies are special. Mary and Elizabeth were pregnant together and rejoiced over their unborn babies together.
You know Mary was totally writing Elizabeth from Egypt asking questions like, “How do you swaddle again? Why won’t my baby sleep? Did you do the cry it out thing or no? Is it normal if my baby throws himself on the ground and starts banging his head when he is mad? Oops…I think I just projected a little bit.Back on track. Now, years later, the miracle baby, the one she celebrated for, is dead.
- Fast forward again and this time it is her son…hanging on a cross. The promised Son of God hanging on a cross – dead. NOBODY THOUGHT THE SON OF GOD WOULD DIE.
And we really think Mary was fine?
Mary did you know? Did you really know? If I was Mary I would have to be thinking numerous times along the way, “This is not how it should be.” I would be thinking, “God promised me the Son of God and yet I am forced from my home, I have to give birth in a barn surrounded by weirdos, become a refugee, lose my child, watch his cousin die and then watch him die…THIS IS NOT HOW IT IS SUPPOSED TO GO.”
Frankly I would be wondering if I heard God wrong. I would be wondering if God forgot about me. I would be wondering if maybe God just simply changed his mind. And I get that I am totally projecting onto Mary here, but have we ever considered that she was just a young girl, a human girl who was trying to make sense of what was going on in her world that had been so radically turned upside down?
And I think why this meme is really getting under my skin is because too many times we as Christians want to just give the quick answer. We want to look at Mary and say, “Duh, she knew Jesus was God. She’s Mary. She’s fine.” We put her on a pedestal and deny any greater emotion or depth to her story. We don’t allow her any form of suffering or sorrow and then we do this to each other. We look at each other and say things like, “Everything happens for a reason…” or “God’s got this, just pray about it…” and we don’t allow others their humanness or the depth of their story.
It’s bugging me because at Christmas we make this holiday all about cheer and merriment and getting the most out of the season…which is nice, I guess, but that wasn’t the Christmas story. The Christmas story was a story that was 33 years of waiting, wondering, questioning, and walking a hard road wondering what in the world God was up to. Advent wasn’t a simple five weeks…it was a lifetime for Mary. And so many people are in that place today.
I’ve been thinking about friends all week who are entering into this season without loved ones for the first time and are struggling. I have people on my prayer list with children who are spending their first Christmas in the NICU – the land of great sadness and depression and people who aren’t even getting the hope of the NICU and are losing the children they begged God for. There is war and bombs and displaced people. Slaves and pedophiles and Donald Trump running for president.
Oops, how did that get in there? There are a lot of things we disagree about these days, but we can all agree that this world is not okay. People are not okay.
The truth of the matter is that even when God tells us something, even if it is as clear as angels shouting to us in our living rooms, we still are human. We are still walking the road of life that is the life God never intended for his people. We are living in a broken world with death and sadness and horror.
All I’m saying is maybe Mary wasn’t okay. Maybe you are not okay.
The beauty of Advent is that it is a time of waiting in anticipation. As Christians, we put up lights during this time to remind us that in the dark of night we have the hope of light. As Christians we put up Christmas trees to remind us that in the dead of winter we have the hope of life. We wait with great anticipation for CHRIST. Jesus, the one who, when all is dark, can give light; the one who, when all is dead, can give life.
We wait. We wait. We wait.
We might wait with questions. We might wait with pain. We might wait with doubts. We might need to let our lights burn a little bit brighter and leave our tree up a little bit longer this season because our waiting will be more than five short weeks. But we use those symbols to remind us that we do not wait in vain. We have hope.
“Mary Did You Know” is such a beautiful song because it gives us a reminder and encouragement of the hope we are waiting for. I think Mary would have appreciated it. Maybe you will, too.