But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19)
This Advent season, I've chosen to contemplate the theme of love. People say that there is close to nothing like a mother's love. Looking to Mary, mother of Jesus, as well as my own mother, I know that this is true.
Christ's perfect love redeems and comforts us. But when we look at Mary, we also see an example of undying, unconditional devotion. We see her love for Christ and her love for God as she embarked on the journey of teen pregnancy, as she nurtured and treasured Jesus the baby in the barn with the shepherds and the wise men, and as she wept at her Son's body draped on the cross. Mary sacrificed her body to carry Jesus Christ, and she sacrificed her Son for the redemption of the world. She mothered and comforted a child, only to watch His brutal death. Yet she continued to follow God with a loving heart to be the warm figure of love that supported and comforted Christ in His birth and death.
Amy Horton, the spitfire from New Jersey who can be seen helping Ms. Sherrie in South Main's kitchen on Sunday mornings or teaching her class of toddlers, has been this beacon of love and comfort in my own life. She has shown this while lying next to me on my bed while I sob about a coach, finding time to tour a college in Pennsylvania with me at the last minute, going to bat for me with school administrators when I had a bully in middle school, and spending countless hours in an occupational therapy office to help me receive the care I needed when I was little. None of these things were easy, especially with two other children, but she continued to sacrifice for, support, and nurture me. It is her love that has been one of the many factors in preparing me to go off to college next autumn.
While no love will ever be more complete than Christ's love, I think that there is a lot to be said about the love of a mother.
This Christmas, I know I will be giving my mom an extra big squeeze.