You’re back! Thank you for returning to my blog for another Advent devotional. And if you are new, all the earlier devotionals are listed below.
When I worked with single moms at a pregnancy center, there was one word that described every one of them: Busy! Teen moms were trying to balance keeping up with schoolwork, caring for the baby, and holding down a part time job. The financial pressure of diapers, daycare, and doctor bills drove my girls to work hard around the clock, just to keep their heads above water. They felt the disapproval of people around them. My clients loved their children but they felt completely overwhelmed by the heavy load of responsibility they carried.
Mary too knew what it felt to be…overwhelmed.
Mary, unsure on whether Joseph would carry through on his plan to divorce her, faced the very real possibility of being a single mom. The thought of raising any child alone is a responsibility but imagine how heavy the weight on her shoulders would be knowing that her child was the Son of God.
Growing up as a child, Jesus must have observed the stress his mother faced daily. He heard the whispers of the yentas in the small village of Nazareth. Perhaps watching how people treated his mother was one way he developed such a gentle concern for women marginalized by his society. We see in John 8 how he looked with compassion at a woman caught in adultery. When Jesus spoke, one by one the angry scribes and Pharisees walked away. At last Jesus was left alone with the woman still there at his feet. “Where are your accusers?” he asked. “Did no one condemn you? No more do I.”
The stress his mother faced impacted Jesus in another way. Rumors about his parentage floated around town. The Jews questioned him, saying, “Where is your father?” in v. 19. And later in 8:41, the Jews cast slurs on his lineage, saying, “We were not born of fornication [implication: like some people standing here].” Jesus defended his lineage as coming directly from God the Father.
Are you overwhelmed by responsibilities like Mary? Are you feeling a burden of condemnation? Hold your head high today. You are a child of the King! He longs to help you carry your load.