Welcome back for the next in this Advent series on “Parenting Jesus.” I hope you’ll return tomorrow for the last of the series!
Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth. What great joy we experience as we celebrate Emanuel, “God with us.” With Christmas only two days away, with families gathering and gifts wrapped under the tree, this may seem like the wrong season of the year to remember the events of Jesus’ death. But in both cases, we celebrate “God with us.”
During the final week of Jesus’ life, everyone around him felt stunned. Despite all Jesus’ efforts to forewarn his disciples, a typhoon of emotions must have washed over Peter, James and John. The euphoria of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem disappeared as the somber events of the last supper unfolded. Then came the fear of the soldiers in the garden. The shame of the denial. The horror of the crucifixion. The confusion of the tomb.
After the burial of Jesus, a host of Marys gathered around the tomb. The gospel writers mention Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joseph, Mary the mother of James, and Mary the wife of Clopas, not to mention Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus who lingered somewhere in the background. Not one of these Marys is identified as the mother of Jesus. Where was Jesus’ mother in those first days as the resurrection became known?
For over thirty years Mary the mother of Jesus had pondered all she learned. She didn’t need to seek her son at a tomb. Her faith was not shaken. The next time Mary appears, it is in Acts 1:14. She is in the Upper Room praying with the disciples…and Jesus’ brothers! In the midst of all the tumult, Mary’s other sons have at last come to believe!
What painful events are you facing in your life? Has your faith trembled or even threatened to shatter? This may be the very time when God is hardest at work in the lives of those we most love. “God is with us!”