“PERSEVERE - You can do hard things!” This is the mantra that we have in some of the kindergarten classrooms in the school where I work. I don’t know if you have been to a kindergarten classroom lately, but those kids work HARD! They have to learn letters, letter sounds, patterns, counting to 100, addition and subtraction, at least 100 sight words, and learn to read, just to name a few things. I don’t know about you, but that’s really different from when I was 5 years old! It is hard work for young children, but the sense of achievement that you see in their faces when they accomplish a difficult task makes it all worth it. We celebrate the achievement together: “See? You did it! You persevered! You CAN do hard things!”
When I think of Advent and Christmas, I often think about Mary and how she felt about the difficult task that she was given - to give birth to the Son of God. There are so many strange and unusual things that she had to go through! Being visited by an angel sent from God, having to travel to Bethlehem on a donkey, and of course, having to deliver a baby in a stable. I often wonder how she managed to persevere through these daunting tasks? Who was there to help cheer her on? To support her when things got really difficult? I’m sure that Joseph did his best, but honestly, I have always pictured him as being a bit panicked and worried, too. (My own husband nearly passed out during the birth of our daughter, and that was just when I was getting the epidural!)
I always imagined that Mary felt very alone during that time. Perhaps it is from the usual characters that we see in nativity scenes - just Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, and a few animals. She didn’t have any of her mom friends organizing a meal train to help her out after the birth! And yet, despite all of these obstacles, she managed to persevere.
No matter how rough things get in our lives, let us remind ourselves to be like Mary. We can do hard things! We will persevere! Let us continue on our course of action no matter how hard things get. God will give us the strength that we need just like he gave to Mary, and we will get through the hardest times of our lives, just like Mary.
- Caroline Creaser Prichard
Click here to listen to Mark Lowery sing "Mary, Did You Know?"