I wonder what Mary thought about the gifts – odd for a baby – but not the Savior of the world. Did Mary know what they foretold or did she just accept them graciously while trying to make some sense of them. We look and say, of course, gold for a king, frankincense a sign of his divinity, and myrrh a foreshadowing of his suffering.
What did Mary do with the gifts? Were they sold so the family could live in Egypt? Or saved until Jesus began his public ministry and then given to him as a mother’s blessing?
Before we are told why in scriptures the climate of joy at Jesus’ birth changes to one of distress. Mary and Joseph must take Jesus and flee into Egypt to avoid Herod. The family is strangers in the land that was once the home of Israel. God frequently calls people to another place. He does this to give us a new opportunity or chance to change. The Holy Family had an opportunity to live without fear of Herod’s persecution. So they stayed in Egypt until it was safe to return home to Nazareth.
All of this occurred because of Mary and Joseph’s multiple yeses to God.
So, of course, I wonder, what has happened in my life because of my yeses to God? Some of this may resonate with you and some may not. All of it comes from my deep faith and belief that God has a plan; that we are here in this place and this time, together – as a people who have said yes and agreed to cooperate with God’s plan for our good.
What have I said yes to – believing after prayer and discernment that it is God’s will for my life?
I am married to John for almost 28 years. Our love for each other has been tested, but it is true and real and sustains us both. We have two wonderful children who are currently living out their dreams. They bring us joy and give us hope. I am able to live out my vocation of service to the Church by working in a parish as my profession. My ministry provides laughter, tears, happiness, contentment, frustration, peace, disbelief, amazement and wonder. My favorite times are when I have the privilege of walking with people on their faith journey and watching God work in people’s lives.
Sometimes though a yes can bring sadness. Six years ago a new friend walked into the Mom’s group at St. Peter. We did not have a lot in common at first glance but shared a deep faith and love of family. Two years later she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We began a journey together into exile; many of us willingly went with her and her family. We all did it out of love. Just six weeks ago she died. Would I have said yes to her friendship if I had known the whole story? Without a moment’s hesitation I would do it all again.
I believe that Mary would have said yes if she knew the whole story as well. Her yes was a gift not only to all of us, but to herself. I’m not speaking here about theological reasons such as being born without original sin or being the Queen of Heaven. I am talking about given the opportunity to love so fully and completely that it is always about the other.
This is what her yes does – it shows me how much to love. She loved and trusted God enough to listen and obey; to be the first disciple and be responsible for God’s son. It makes what I am asked to do seem simple by comparison. I always keep in mind though that Mary had a supernatural grace and lack of sin.
I know, that in all our lives, we have gone to Egypt and then been called to the place God has planned for us if we are willing to say yes. It is part of life for people of faith. I pray, that like Mary, we all continue to say yes to God and grow in holiness.