All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. - John 1:3 (NRSV)
Jesus is a little over a week old now. It’s really starting to dawn on Mary how much work this is going to take. The kid cries all the time. She’s still sore. Breastfeeding’s harder to figure out than she expected. So much laundry. And oh, lord, if only those long nights were silent. It’s going to get harder. She’s wondering if she’ll be able to handle it.
Much is made of Mary’s “yes” to God’s plan; Joseph’s too, sometimes. Nothing at all is made, really, of the yesses of all the others, the villagers of Bethlehem and Nazareth, the people along the way to Egypt, the Egyptians who took them in, Mary’s parents and in-laws and cousins, Jesus’s kindergarten teacher, his orthodontist, and on and on and on, right down to the ones whose work it is to remember him, imitate him, tell his story, and be his body in the world.
When God decided to get a body, Mary got a son. But other people got a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a friend, another kid in the classroom. They’d all lose one eventually, too. Mary got the lion’s share of the work, but plenty of others had to chip in to make this plan of God’s come off. Maybe Mary’s “yes” mattered most, but everybody else’s mattered too, including yours.
A little more than a week after the birth, Mary’s starting to realize how much work this is really going to take. Are you?
It’s really starting to dawn on me how much work following Jesus is going to be, God. Help. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.