Today is my oldest sons birthday which leads me to reflect on the relationship Mary had with Jesus as his mother. It only seems a short while ago that I brought my beautiful baby boy, my first born, home from hospital to celebrate our first Christmas as parents. I felt such an instant surge of love for him as he was laid in my arms, I’d never quite felt anything like it before. He was adorable and so tiny, I remember praying that I would need Gods help to raise him and be a good mother to him, I was little more than a teenager myself, and yet motherhood felt so natural. I enjoyed the intimacy of nursing him at my breast, of washing him tenderly and getting to know every part of that precious tiny body, smothering him with kisses, stroking his soft baby skin and whispering words of love over him to soothe him to sleep when he cried. As I remember these precious days I am mindful that Mary too would have felt all these emotions when she cradled Jesus in her arms. Filled with love and excitement about the gift of life that she had been given, she too must have felt inadequate at the great task ahead of raising a son, a son that would be the saviour of the world. She would have held him close to her breast and fed him in the stable and would have been overjoyed when she saw his first smile. She too would have gazed into his eyes each and every day, her heart filled with immense love, whispering encouragement to him, reading him the scriptures and watching him grow year after year and wondering how it is possible to feel so much love for someone.
The bible doesn’t tell us much about Jesus’ childhood, but as a mother of four myself I can imagine the strong bond that formed between Mary and Jesus by the time he had grown into a young man. My son is now in his mid thirties, and so I cant but help imagine how the young mother must have felt when her dear sweet baby boy was taken by soldiers and made to carry a heavy wooden cross on his shoulders, the tool for his own crucifixion. We know that Mary was there with her son, sitting at the foot of the cross whilst he died, she journeyed with him for the full length of his earthly life. Her motherly love never ceased, and she knew the heartache of loosing a child as well as the joy of giving birth.
Over the next couple of days I want us to take time to consider the relationship between Mary and Jesus. Take some time to sit quietly and to look at this painting of the Madonna and Child by Orazio Gentileschi 1605. Observe the moment between mother and son, the infant has just finished being fed and now looks up to capture the loving gaze of his dear mother. Precious moments to just be still and to share their love and compassion towards one another. Allow yourself to be still and capture the loving gaze of Christ when he looks at you, knowing that you can also share this intimate relationship with your saviour.