What was she thinking?!

I was in a meeting with David Lee (see Church: Be the Real Deal post) in which, after reading Luke 1:26f he asked this simple question, “What was she [Mary] thinking 2.5 weeks out from birth day?”

There is a practice called vocalics which has to do with that which is “spoken or heard”… the discipline includes every aspect of verbal communication: tone, pitch, volume, speed, verbal emotions, etc.

The practice itself has been a helpful meditative one for me when it comes to Scripture passages or, in this case, what strikes me as an important phrase to understand better. Using David’s question the discipline would look like this:

  • What was she thinking?
  • What was she thinking?
  • What was she thinking?
  • What was she thinking?

Every question, though the same words, is actually a different question!

In those days before Ob-Gyn’s and announced due dates she was not likely aware that she was 2.5 weeks away. BUT, if she was like every other woman I’ve ever known she was profoundly aware that it could not possibly be much longer! So, what we she thinking?

The short answer is: I don’t know. We’re never told.

But, from what we do know of Mary, we can assume a number of things…

She never hid her fear from the angel or grief-striken anxiety at the cross, so it is likely she was thinking things like: how much is this gonna hurt?; man am I uncomfortable; I miss my mamma; and so forth.

She was a bright young woman who used logic and rational thought in her conversation with the angel who had visited those months earlier so, it is possible, that she was thinking through everything she knew of the birth process from the farm and her home… rehearsing all the tips her mom and others had given her… practicing breathing… etc.

She was the very pregnant wife of a young husband so she probably vacillated between emotional extremes such as: “Oh, Joseph, thank you for loving me and letting me come with you” and “What do you mean you didn’t call ahead for reservations?!”

But she was also a deeply devoted young woman. She had submitted herself to God and His care, in spite of the fact that she had no idea what that would mean for her or for her son. That means sweaty palms and short breathing cycles for most people… getting lost in our thoughts… wondering, ceaselessly. And I think Mary had a lot of these kinds of things going on as well.

In fact, it is this aspect of her life that captures me this time of the year. Although no one knows all she was pondering in her heart in those days, I like to think she kept going back to her confession to the angel: “I am the LORD’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever he wants. May everything you have said come true.” (Luke 1:38, NLT)

Read in context, those are remarkable sentences. Put into practice, they represent a remarkable life.

  • An identity: the LORD’s servant
  • A surrender: I am willing to accept
  • A trust: whatever the LORD wants
  • A mission: May everything you have said come true

Here’s the deal: those sentences could be true of me (or of you) if we made the same choices as Mary – if we embraced the same values – if we trusted like she chose to trust – if we thought like she thought.

The challenge of my friend David’s question became very personal to me – not “what was Mary thinking” but “what am I thinking?” just 2.5 weeks away from Incarnation Day. Jesus once gave us a measuring stick for tracking our hearts: check out what you treasure. What do I treasure this Christmas? What about you?


About christmasandicecream

Grace & Peace to you all! I'm Randy. I am a follower of Jesus - sometimes close up and, sadly, sometimes way too far away. My best friend, administrative assistant, partner, and high school sweetheart all live with me and go by the same name: Adele. She and I are part of a relationally-focused, small group based Church family that helps us along spiritual quest. Our boys are both grown now. We have a wonderful daughter-by-marriage and 2 truly GRANDchildren... 1 boy and 1 girl. We are Corgi people and now oversee the care of 1 spoiled Corgi puppy named Elly May. I am a devoted fan of 2 'seasons' in each year: Christmas and baseball!! At my house, a Christmas tree goes up somewhere within days of the close of the Fall Classic (baseball lingo for the World Series) and a Christmas tree stays up all the way through Spring Training. In between it is non-stop celebration of the Incarnation. I live in the Mid-Atlantic part of the U.S.A. and, among other things, work as a coach and consultant with an incredibly diverse network of churches that make up the BCMD. My Church-roots are in the Baptist bucket of the Christian ice cream shop. But, just because I have a favorite flavor, doesn't mean I don’t like them all! I do. I work with things like soul care & leadership development of pastor/pastoral team members; with small, simple, organic models of church life; with relational strategies of spiritual formation; and with the health of the Church. I taught at New Orleans seminary for a decade and have served in local churches for 30 years. I am currently part of the faculty of Rockbridge Seminary – a new kind of seminary for a new kind of Church – where I also play a role on the Academic Council. *I am obliged to note that questions, comments, ideas, views,... just about anything you read here, are mine, and not those of BCMD, RS, any other organization or school I work for, or those of most normal people. Thanks for visiting. Come back again.
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