Labor of Love

The last several years that we've lived out here on our pretend farm, I've gone to the barn to take care of the animals in the winter cold and can't help but think what it would be like for this to be my shelter from the bitter wind and the falling snow and the frigid temperatures.  A few years ago, six months pregnant with Millie, I couldn't help but think of Mary while I stepped into the barn and the shelter broke the wind and actually provided a little bit of warmth and I just cried.  Ever since then, it's what I think about almost every single time I step out of the cold, dark night into the shelter of a not-quite-as-cold, dark barn. 

As a mother, I think often about our Mother Mary and how she must have felt throughout her Son's life. She indeed felt emotion, and I'm sure that even though she was comforted by God's messengers and Elizabeth's comforting words, she was still scared, anxious, excited, nervous. And I'm sure it was cold and she felt pain followed by tremendous joy and love that could've still been tinged with anxiety about the monumental role she was to play in the coming years, and then of course the pain and anguish years later that she must have felt watching her child being brutally abused, all for the good of everyone else. I'm sure there was much divinity throughout Jesus's life to offer Mary peace and diminish the worries of a parent. I'm sure the same divinity is probably offered to me if I could be so faithful to always lay everything into His hands instead of trying to be in control.

And then...I went to a concert last Advent with my brother and heard this song called "Labor of Love", and it touched me deeply, again making me think of Mary as so much more than the story-book character that comfortably rode on a donkey to a pretty little clean stable and quietly had a baby and laid him in a warm little bed of hay.
Story Detour:

We went to the same "Behold the Lamb of God" concert this year and took the four oldest kids and met my beautiful friend Nancy there.  What a wonderful addition to our preparation during the season of Advent. What an amazing reminder of how the prophecy unfolded to bring us a Savior.  Music reaches to the depths of my soul and moves me.  It really does.  I would love to make this particular concert an annual tradition.  It probably impacted me a little more the first year while everything was new and unexpected, but it was beautiful a second time and I'm sure it would be equally beautiful again.

End of detour.

My point is that I have a different perspective of the Holy Family that I am reminded of especially at Christmas that puts my anxieties to rest a little faster.  I've had no angels come to me with important messages during any of my pregnancies and I've delivered all of my babies in the warmth and comfort of a well-equipped, well-staffed hospital after having been driven there in a warm car, and my mom or my mother-in-law has always been by my side for a period of time to help or at least to welcome our newest addition.  My labor couldn't possibly compare to hers.  My fears couldn't possibly compare to hers.  My worries couldn't possibly compare to hers.  My pain couldn't possibly compare to hers.  My love couldn't possibly compare to hers.  But...because of her, we celebrate, and because she said "yes", we breathe, we cry, we laugh, we sing, we worship, we find comfort and strength, we have a savior.  She teaches us humility, and with a humble heart we are able to love her Son with greatness.

Merry Christmas.  Happy Birthday Jesus.

These pictures were taken of images from the "Andrew Peterson:  Behold the Lamb of God" concert.

"Labor of Love" by Andrew Peterson

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love