Tuesday, November 30

Advent 2010

Mary's Hands

 

But when the fullness of time had come,

God sent his Son, born of a woman...

(Galatians 4:4)

 

             Over the years we have collected many different nativity sets, each one unique.  I love how Mary is portrayed in the set from Madagascar.  She kneels by the manger, but her hands aren't held in prayer and she doesn't bow her head in worship.  Instead, her arms are outstretched and her hands are opened wide as if she is reaching to pick up the baby.  But the most remarkable thing about Mary is the size of her hands.  Whether by intention or by accident, the woodcarver made her hands disproportionately large.  Those large hands remind me of the great responsibility Mary took on when she said yes to God.  Children begin life dependent on someone else's hands.  When Jesus was born, God entrusted himself to the hands of a young woman named Mary. 

Scripture tells us little about Jesus' childhood, but as with any baby, his mother would have been his first teacher.  Her hands cared for him as an infant as she fed, washed, and clothed him.  Her hands held him and rocked him to sleep.  Her hands guided him as he learned to walk and bandaged scraped knees when he fell.  Those same hands protected him and comforted him when he was scared or sad.  Her hands taught him the importance of a tender touch and its power to bless.  I imagine she held his hands in hers as she taught him his first prayers. 

Mary's hands helped shape the person Jesus would become.  Jesus learned from his mother what it means to trust the hands of a loving parent so that at the end he could say with all confidence to his loving Father, "Into your hands I commit my spirit."

In my mind Mary will always have large hands - hands big enough to cradle the Son of the Most High - hands strong enough to let him go about his Father's business - hands confident enough to release Jesus as her son and then embrace him as Savior of the world.

- Gaye Rountree

 

Prayer:

Dear God, this Advent, help us to be people who give hope to others.  Help us to shine bright to those who have lost hope.  Amen.

- Walker Wright

 

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