Whatever happened to Mary? If you want to start an intense debate among Christians, just bring up Mary. Her position in the great cosmic story of salvation has been elevated, and minimized accordingly, depending upon which theologian is commenting at the time. As Catholics repeat the “Hail Mary,” Baptists pray that she’ll just go away. Much contemplation, and commentary centers on this little girl.
So who is Mary? According to the Bible, she was the mother of Jesus Christ. She received a visit from an angel, was informed that she would have a child, and that child would be the son of God. Mary was practical. She felt as if she had to educate the angel a bit, i.e. she wasn’t married, and she was still a virgin. Now, this is where the theologians get petty about things.
Theologians are like lawyers. The only time they twist the truth is when their mouths are open. Breaking down the Greek, they interpret the word, “virgin” as everything from absolutely as pure as a five year old Shirley Temple all the way up to someone who only had one husband and hasn’t had a child yet. I, personally think it meant Mary was a good little girl. She made it very clear to the angel, and he basically agreed with her on that point, but told her not to worry about it because God had her back.
Mary was probably around fourteen years old. Before you start throwing tomatoes at me please understand that in this era people lived to up around thirty, or thirty-five, so at fourteen or so, little Mary had most likely lived around half of her life. At any rate, she became with child, which freaked her fiancé completely out. He knew it wasn’t him, and he also knew that the result of such a thing could be stoning. He decides to put her away “privately,” as opposed to the strip to the rock yard. Joseph was a good old boy.
Nothing ever came easy for Mary. Nowadays, women get wheeled into an operating room, given pain killers, and smile for the camera holding the new addition to the family. Mary got about a seventy mile trip on a jack-ass, did her labor in a barn, and the king tried to kill the baby. And you think you’ve had it rough!
The Nativity scene we’ve all come to know is actually a composite of the Gospels, and little tradition thrown in. Was she really in a stable? There was no room at the inn, but consider; if Joseph was returning to his tribal home to register for taxes, wouldn’t you think he’d have had at least a cousin in town somewhere. I mean, it was Bethlehem, not Jerusalem. These people all knew each other. Staying in a stable was not the raging insult that we think. First off let’s look at timing. Although we celebrate Christmas on December 25th, the Bible says that shepherds were “abiding in the fields.” Now, I’m just a Simple Ol’ Body from Austin, but Shepherds don’t “abide” in the dead of winter, they abide closer to the equinox, say, Passover maybe? House full of relatives, lots of people in town, fourteen year old girl about to have a baby, do you think?
So, Mary has her baby, raises Him, and presents Him to the world at Cana. Joseph died early on so it was she who formed Jesus’ personality, it was she who gave him concept, it was she who knelt before the angel, and finally, before the cross. Whatever happened to Mary?
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