A reflection by Mary Lou Edgar for December 17, 2023.
I have always felt a strong connection to Mary, the mother of Jesus.
I am named for her and for most of my life, I have considered her to be a model of faith and unconditional love. When I learned about Mary, I was young and had questions. Why did she get picked to be the mother of Jesus? Why weren’t there any rooms available anywhere? Why was she predominately surrounded by men? Why wasn’t she holding her baby?
I would ask people these questions and most people would shrug and ask me what difference did it make? To me, it made a great difference. She was a young girl, and she wasn’t married. But she listened to the angel and said, “Be it done unto me according to thy word.” In my basic – not knowledgeable — understanding of the Scripture, I puzzled over so many things. As time passed, I learned some things, but I was still not sure of most things. I listened to what everyone said, I went to Bible Studies at any church that was having one. I was focused on the Bible and parenting classes.
My real issue was I needed to define what I wanted to know.
As I learned more, I came to understand what a blessing Mary’s faith was. I was quite taken by that. That a person could have that much faith and not know anything about what was ahead. She was a humble woman. She accepted what the angel asked her to do and that was miraculous. The other thing that perplexed me was that she was a poor woman (actually, a girl). Another question for me, why only poor people? I finally thought that Jesus came for everyone, the rich and the poor. But the poor were rarely acknowledged by the wealthy people.
Every year I read as much as I can: Scripture, stories, reflections of others, etc. I remind myself that Jesus came for us all, and He didn’t plan to bring a video game or a huge doll house. He brought us a much more precious gift. He brought us knowledge of his Father and preached to everyone about eternal life.
For me this has not been a quick study.
I had always been told that I needed to have faith and that I had faith. (Who knew? I certainly didn’t.) I thought about the stories I had been told and learned as much as I could. However, it was when I finally made a connection of sorts with Mary, that I came to realize what faith really meant.
She had amazing faith, and, although I was in awe of it, I wasn’t sure I could go that far. So, I prayed more, read more, and waited for something to happen. Many things happened, but I wasn’t wise enough to know God was calling me. The first time I realized that, I answered “yes,” Dan and I made hard decisions and moved ahead. We were not calm, we were frightened. We were not supported, by family or friends, but we found all the support we needed in God. It was not easy, but it was joyous. I connected deeper with Mary about the children she and I would parent.
She was my beacon.
When Jesus was gone for three days teaching his Father’s message, I would have been hysterical. It did not appear that she was. When he put himself in harm’s way, she supported him. When he died a horrific death, she was there with him to the end. She is a model for me as a woman of faith and as a parent.There are not many references to her in the Bible so, during Advent, I read the ones that are there many times. I enjoy the quiet and my reading. It is a blessing for this, “the most wonderful time of the year.”
“The spirit of the Lord is upon me. For he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” Luke 4:19
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Lou Edgar, MSS, is a clinical social worker who founded A Better Chance for Our Children, an adoption and foster care agency that works to find permanent homes for children in the foster care system. Mary Lou was the Executive Director of ABCFOC, but she is now retired. She graduated from Neumann University and Bryn Mawr School of Social Work and Social Research. She and her husband joined SsAM in 2021.