As a young mother, I would often sing my baby to sleep with the song about Jesus blessing the children.
“I think when I read that sweet story of old, When Jesus was here among men, How he took little children as lambs to his fold, I should like to have been with him then.”
Tears would come to my eyes whenever I got to the part in the song which said,
“I wish that his hands had been placed on my head, that his arms had been thrown around me” and I would imagine the feel of Jesus arms around me, holding me as I held my child.
Those times, alone in the dark cradling my infant child, were times when I also wondered what it would have been like to hold and nurse the son of God. How blessed was Mary to feel the touch of his tiny hands pressed against her breast and his mouth attached to her nipples. Jesus was a real baby, as real as the child I held in my arms.
This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word. “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given.”
It was the first Christmas after becoming a mother that the significance of those familiar words, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given,” dawned on me. That little baby in the manger, Mary’s infant, was also my baby, he was my son too!
To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature.
Today my firstborn is grown and lives 3,000 miles away; my daughter is married with a family of her own. Age and time do not alter our relationship. He is still my dear son, my baby boy; she is still my precious and beautiful little girl.
By taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken.
Thorough the eternal ages He is linked with us.
Looking back, it was not only the infant days I treasure in my memory, it was those many childhood experiences when my children and I connected in serious one-on-one talks, especially when confined together in a car. Driving to and from school we would discuss the current day’s activities, our plans for tomorrow and their dreams of the future.
During those “hidden years in Nazareth” I’m pretty sure Jesus and Mary had many long conversations about his role and mission in life. I believe he shared with his mother his consuming passion to teach and to minister to his people. Perhaps when Jesus finally left home he asked Mary to come with him.
We know that early on in his public ministry, Jesus’ earthly family came to see him. (Mark 3:20-35, Luke 11:14-28) Concerned for his safety and well being, they came to encourage him to come home. A woman in the crowd upon recognizing Jesus’ mother spoke up and pointed Mary out to everyone. “Blessed is the woman who bore you and the breasts that you sucked!”
Jesus, I believe, made eye contact with his mother and looking directly at her said, “The truly blessed person is the one who hears God’s voice speaking to them and responds.”
Jesus knew how much Mary could contribute to the small group of men and women who had chosen to follow him. The ambivalence Mary had experienced about Jesus’ mission gave way to commitment. She left her home in Nazareth and joined the group of women who followed Jesus and ministered to his needs. As his disciple, Mary’s relationship with Jesus now became even closer and more intimate than it had been before.
In Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen.
It was during that same encounter, that Jesus clarified his familial ties. As to the question of kinship Jesus responded, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”
In Christ the family of earth and the family of heaven are bound together, Christ glorified is our brother.
When we do God’s will, Jesus sees us as his brother and sister and He is not ashamed to acknowledge us as family. When I do God’ will, Jesus sees me as his sister and mother. And he is not ashamed to call me mother!
Jesus very first thought upon rising from the tomb on Sunday morning was to reassure his followers that he was still one with them. “Go tell my brothers and sisters,“ he said to Mary, “that I am ascending to myFather and your Father. Go tell them we are still family! “
God has adopted human nature in the person of His son, and has carried the same into the highest heaven. It is the “Son of Man” who shares the throne of the universe… Heaven is enshrined in humanity, and humanity is enfolded in the bosom of Infinite Love.
*The words in italics are all taken from a paragraph on page 25 in the book “The Desire of Ages.”