Not only is Mary the blessed name of our Jesus' mother's, but it also reminds me of a woman I used to know.
When I was young, living in L.A., being fancy free & 'doing' L.A., I worked with a young woman my age (about 20-21) named Mary. We latched onto each other immediately because she was so sweet and friendly. But the thing that got me about Mary was her peace. She had a joy and peace about her that was infectious. I wanted it. I wondered where it came from. But more so, where could I get 'some of that.'
So one day while eating lunch, I asked her. "What is "it" about you? How can you always be so joyous and happy all the time? What's your secret?
She looked me right in the eye & said, 'it's because I'm filled with Jesus in my heart. You can be like this, too, Tracey", she said.
Who, ME??? I had been going to church all my life; I'd been baptized, etc., what was she gonna tell me? (even now thinking back on it - I NEVER attended church the years I lived in L.A. Wow....) I was too busy exploring L.A., partying, hitting up concerts every night, wearing fishnet stockings & gloves, clubbing.... Uggh....
She said: "I wasn't always like this. I have raised myself since I was 15 years old!!" (I could SO NOT relate). She said her mother was a bad alcoholic & drug addict, so not only did she have to take care of & raise herself, she was also "raising" her own mother. She had been responsible for paying bills, the rent, doing laundry, grocery shopping - all the things I was accustomed to my parents doing. Who had time to think of those things when you're 15?
She then told me she had fallen into her mother's way of living & started getting high on every drug, sleeping around, staying out and away for days at a time - all before the age of 18! I was amazed, shocked & at a loss for words. Mary then told me one day, a man approached her. She thought it was for sex, but he was a pastor. He basically told her about living a whole different life she could have - if she'd invite Jesus into her heart.
She did just that and boy did Mary's light SHINE!!! It clearly shone bright enough for me to want some of the light. Of course, I didn't follow through on that right then, but it was always in my head. Seeing her day after day @ work, being so thankful and joyous, and me - either hung over or just all around sad/depressed. yet, I would look at Mary & think 'how boring.' Now I look at myself and think, 'how stupid.'
The moral of this section of my life story is that I didn't really stop & listen to God until I had my son a few years later, and came back to Ohio. Then I was removed from all the 'goings on' of L.A. and back home where it was quiet. Where I could hear Jesus knocking @ the door of my heart. And I finally, after all that time, let him in. I realized that what I thought would be 'boring' in a Christian life isn't boring at all. If you want all the blessings God has for you, you will try your best to stay on his path & please him. There is no boredom in that. In fact, it's something I hunger for everyday. And I do believe Jesus said 'come thirsty & take a good long drink.' Okay?
Besides - NOTHING on this earth compares to what He has in store for you. Nothing but great things. So on this day of Jesus' birth, I think of his mother, Mary, and of "my" Mary" who has definitely got a crown stored in Heaven for all those years ago when she opened my eyes to the real definition of 'peace & joy.' I haven't seen Mary in over 25 years, but I will never forget her.
Merry Christmas, all. If you're lost, may you run into a "Mary" out there in the world who draws you to her by shining her light. Just the way God planned it. :-)