"Great With Child"
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Becoming a mother has brought a new dynamic to the Christmas season for me. This is my second time being pregnant during the Christmas season and I often find my thoughts lingering on Mary a little more the usual.
Every year on Christmas Eve my husband’s extended family gathers in their Grandparents front room to read The Christmas Story from Luke 2. Gathering in the front room is unique because we are only allowed in the front room on one day a year - the night Christ was born. Smells of Christmas dinner are strong throughout the house while cousins gather at the feet of Papa. Papa carefully and thoughtfully selects someone to read the Christmas story from the special edition Bible we can only touch on Christmas Eve. It is the highest honor you can get in the family to be asked to read the Christmas Story aloud to the family.
Two years ago (when I was pregnant with baby #1) Papa called on me because he said I reminded him of Mary that year. I remember standing up and walking over to sit by Papa. The phrase “great with child” had never felt more real than it had at that moment with every eye on me. I picked up the 10-pound gold-leaf Bible and placed it on my lap and began reading. As I read I couldn’t help but think of Mary and all the concerns she must have had at that time.
But did I deserve to be compared to Mary that night? The comparison was profound to me. It would seem that I should have been filled for a moment with pride considering that my job carrying this unborn child was a high compliment. Yet, almost immediately, I felt a rushing wave of guilt.
I cowered from the comparison. How many times had I commented out loud, under my breath, to my spouse, or simply in my mind about the list of things that I had done to make this pregnancy successful? I wanted, for a small moment, for my husband to recognize and be grateful. It shouldn't seem wrong to desire my husband to be grateful; however, in that moment of clarity, I realized I was negatively dwelling on my feelings - wanting to invite him into my 'pity-party.'
This compassion awoke in me a new concept: carrying the baby happily, not begrudgingly. Sure, I was grateful to be pregnant, but was I acting like it? I realized in that moment that it was more important to me to have my spouse know how hard the pregnancy was on me, than for me to truly appreciate the pregnancy.
But how would Christ handle the situation? Not for praise. Not for recognition. Not for a hug, or a foot massage or even a 'thank you.'
I should carry this unborn child happily because that's how He would. With a perfect love.
All that Christ did - all that he stood for and accomplished - was for us, to help us set our eyes ultimately on Heavenly Father. He always pointed the glory, honor, and praise back to His Father, never asking or accepting credit from anyone because it was never about Him.
I don’t know a single person that honestly likes being pregnant. Regardless, my job during this pregnancy (and always) is to point my actions to the Savior, who will then point them to The Father. It isn’t about what I’ve done for anyone, it's about what heart I do it with.
When I show my spouse or those around me who He is through my actions and my heart, then, and only then, can I consider myself to be like Mary being “great with child” who pointed her actions to Christ, who pointed His actions to Heavenly Father.
This Christmas season let us try and not focus on how inconvenienced we are with the hustle and bustle of our never ending to-do list, but instead check-in with the intentions of our heart and make certain they are centered on Him.