I hope everyone is having a very Mele Kalikimaka out there today!
Although today is the Lord’s birthday it’s almost impossible to think of Christmas without thinking about Jesus’s mother, Mary, at the same time. Mary, her son and their intricate relationship have been the inspiration of many artists and musicians’ work for generations, making it almost unimaginable to separate the two.
Think about it for a moment: what would be the significance of a portrait of The Madonna without her holding her holy child or could the song “Mary Did You Know?” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPsgIhlYQmM even have been written if it were not for Mary’s role in Jesus’s life?
The beauty of Jesus’s birth cannot exist independent of his mother and for every mother whose ever lived, the bond and interconnectedness between mother and child is no less sacred. Aside from enemies set on destroying them, who would ever think to tear away and keep a child from his/her mother?
Last weekend my church did a live nativity that included a family of sheep; the lamb had been born just a few days before. When it came to the part in the play when Jesus was to be born, the animal caretaker gently lifted the baby lamb up from its pen where it was with its parents and placed him in the arms of a child who was playing a nativity shepherd. Though carried with great care and gentleness the lamb cried pitifully for being separated from its mother. They could still see each other (the child shepherd was literally just two steps away from the pen) but the mother paced frantically in the pen bleating for her baby. The mother and lamb answered each other’s cries so loudly that not only could the children in the play not be heard above it, but everyone’s attention was diverted to what was happening with the sheep. While this distressful situation unfolded, the father sheep continued eating grass in the pen unaffected by the separation. Everyone who heard and saw what was going on with the little lamb was moved with pity and the mood quickly changed back to tender admiration when mother and lamb were reunited; the “wrong” had been righted.
A statement from Mark 10:9 - typically reserved for wedding ceremonies – came to mind as I watched:
What God has joined together let no man put asunder.
A mother with her child is a relationship that has been put together by God, probably even more so then the relationship between husband and wife, yet our family court and CPS systems often presume to know better then God by separating mothers from their children all the time and not just any mothers either – protective mothers who have endured and successfully escaped from abusers. The only people I can think of who would have no problem with permanently separating a mother from her child are enemies set on destroying them because who else could witnesses and tolerate the anguish of forced a mother-child separation? Worse, what kind of a person would take delight in successfully keeping a child from its mother?
Arguments arising from “the best interests of the child” quickly pit the genders against each other when that’s not “it” at all. The live nativity story is not about which gender is "better" or more meaningful - it exemplifies the innate NECESSITY of a protective mother to be with her child/ren and visa versa. The role Mary’s husband, Joseph, played in Jesus’s birth was no less important but was certainly different then Mary’s role; because of the fundamental differences in roles it’s irrelevant to argue which parent is “better” or “more meaningful” to a child – going down that road is truly comparing apples and oranges.
The lesson being taught to us by the little lamb is about appreciating, respecting and protecting the beauty, sacredness and gift that is the mother-child bond, something that Mary and Jesus modeled to perfection for us some two thousand years ago. Happy Birthday Jesus and Mary ~