It is the Christmas season so I have been listening to Christmas music and singing along. One of the songs that keep playing on my Pandora station is “Mary Did You Know?”. It is a beautiful song. I have been singing right along with it. I have also been singing “Away in a Manger” to my son.
But in the midst of singing those I start thinking about what did Mary know and what would baby Jesus have been like? And I am thinking from my “new mother” perspective. A few new thoughts this year come into my mind.
First thing I realize is that Mary did know this was the Son of God because of the visit from the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:30 – 35 which states
30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. 32 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; 33 and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” 34 Mary said to the angel, “How [w]can this be, since I [x]am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the [y]holy Child shall be called the Son of God.
BUT on a daily basis as a new mother do you remember that it is the Son of God you are raising.
Then let me continue on with the no crying he makes from Away in a Manger. That is a lovely sentiment but we must face a bit of reality.
I, speaking from a new mother, believe that baby Jesus did cry quite a bit.
Because that is the only way a newborn can tell you what they need. I was told by the instructor at my birth class and my pediatrician as well as most experienced mothers that when a newborn cries they need something whether it is food, changed, held, etc. There is a need not a want therefore it isn’t a sin for a baby to cry.
So much for tender and mild from Silent Night.
And I am pretty positive that it wasn’t a silent night in that stable when he was born. As new parents both Joseph and Mary would have been looking for that crying as Jesus made his appearance.
All the carols have a beautiful sentiment but are not based in reality.
I do believe that Jesus didn’t cry as much as he got older because I am learning that my almost 10 month old is starting to manipulate me with his cries. I am also sure he tried to manipulate sometimes when he was learning to cry but wanted held instead. And my son refuses to take his nap this afternoon and instead screamed until I gave in. I am not sure how baby Jesus would have reacted in those situations. What does a sinless baby look like in those situations?
I use to think of our tender and mild baby Jesus would have been and how Mary had the perfect child. But that perfect child didn’t make her a perfect sinless mother.
She was a brand new mom just like I am. And it takes time to figure things out as a mother, no matter how good your baby is. Breastfeeding isn’t necessarily easy so that might have been a struggle for her. I am positive she got frustrated in the middle of the night not knowing why Jesus was crying just like I have been. I sure she was exhausted like the rest of us because baby Jesus would have needed to eat every two hours or more often at the beginning. She probably experienced the baby blues like every other woman does and shed tears for no reason and doubted herself.
And I am sure she forgot that he was the Son of God at times and viewed him just as her son. But I also believe that there were times she kissed her son’s face knowing she was kissing and raising the Great I Am.
Now lets talk about pressure!
I know she couldn’t have messed up the future with her mothering skills but I am sure she wasn’t too sure about that. She probably wondered if she was doing it right. She probably wished she hadn’t traveled to a new town away from her mom. She probably had a lot of questions and doubts.
All of this because Jesus had to be a normal baby just without sin. A good baby is still a baby, no getting around that. I know that even the best babies must cry to tell you what their needs are.
OK, I realize it wasn’t a completely normal child as he was the Son of God and would be sinless is whole life. The big question is the following: Does a newborn baby sin when crying and if not at what age does that change?
What do you think?
Also, can you imagine raising more children after your perfect child Jesus? Whew, that would have been a new challenge for Mary.