“‘You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.’” ~ Gabriel to Mary, Luke 1:31-33
“‘This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.’” ~ Jesus to his disciples before his ascension, Luke 24:46-47
As I sat in church last Sunday, I reflected on this special season of Advent. Evergreens twinkled with tiny lights, wreaths had merry red bows, and the crèche was serenely placed near the pulpit. Everything exuded the joy, peace, and hope of Christmastide.
I began musing over what it would be like for Mary to cradle the Messiah in her arms. I imagined Jesus moving like an ordinary baby would, seeking the warmth and comfort of his mother. I thought of Mary caressing his little wrinkled face, and his tiny hand reaching out to grasp her finger. I wondered what her dreams would have been for her new babe. For surely she did not know what her baby boy would endure.
We all have dreams for our children, and fervently whisper our hopes and prayers to heaven. Will he be strong? Will she be beautiful? Will they be happy? We long so passionately to give our children the very best, to make sure no harm comes to them. We desperately hope that their life is bereft of the struggles and sorrows we have known.
Mary’s Dreams for her Son
Certainly Mary had reason to believe her child’s life would be wonderful! He was the Messiah, God’s own Son. Perhaps the words of Gabriel ran through her mind on that night: he would be great, he would be called the Son of the Most High, and he would be king forever. He was their Messiah, their victorious warrior-king!
What more could a poor girl from Nazareth dream of for her child?
Of all the dreams Mary may have dreamed for her newborn son, I can promise you that death upon a cross was not one of them. It would have been a mother’s worst nightmare. Yet her sorrow, her worst nightmare, was the greatest Hope the world could ever receive. For by his sacrificial death we received life and peace and lavish grace never known before.
Mary’s Dreams Fulfilled
When we say “hope was born on Christmas morning,” we don’t necessarily think of the Cross; but you cannot separate Christ’s birth from his death. It was the very reason Jesus was born in the first place.
Jesus did come as a victorious warrior-king. However, Jesus wasn’t born to fight a man-made war; he was born to fight an eternal one. His victory was not over lands and rulers, but over Sin and Death. His victory was on the cross.
Mary didn’t know that as she gazed at her babe the night he was born. She didn’t know that her baby boy with a wrinkled face and tiny fingers would grow up to fight for us, for her. She didn’t know the details.
But she did know the ending. Gabriel had told her, after all. And because her Hope was in Yahweh, her dreams for her child were certain to be fulfilled, even if they were fulfilled in ways she did not expect.
Your Challenge this Christmas
I challenge you this Christmas season to dream the way a parent does for their precious babe. Dream lavishly, and with wild abandon! But I also challenge you to be open with your dreams. They may be fulfilled differently from your expectations; but that may be exactly what you need…