Advent always leads me to much pondering, but lately it’s been about Mary. I’ve been thinking of things either that she said or were said to her, but the one that has been consuming me these last few days was something said to her. When Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple at 8 days old to be circumcised they met a wonderful old man named Simeon. (This is my favorite Christmas story.) He was told by God that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Christ. When he held baby Jesus, he said to Mary, “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34) That last sentence is the one I can’t stop from running through my head.
Mikayla, our 8 year old at the time, was diagnosed with stage IV bone cancer on Feb. 25, 2009. Earlier that month, she had the first of three biopsies on a tumor found in her pelvis. For the first two biopsies, she laid on a table where she would have a CT scan so they could “see” the tumor and retrieve a biopsy with an extremely long needle. She was given a sedative, was very weepy and begging us to stay. While the nurses distracted her, the doctor talked to us briefly and then said we could go out and wait. I realized then that we were supposed to turn and walk out of the room. My feet were like lead weights. I didn’t know how I could leave her but I had to. As Marty held me around the waist and directed me out I saw my Dad (who I didn’t know had followed us) standing in the hallway and all I could do was go to him and just bury my head in his chest with Marty holding me up. I’m not sure exactly what happened physically then to me but I couldn’t breathe right and my heart felt like it was going to jump out of my chest. My sisters and Mom who were down the hall saw that I was having trouble standing and came to help me get to a chair. It took a few minutes for me to recover. It was not the first time that my “soul was pierced” that year nor was it the last time.
As I have been thinking about other times that my soul has been pierced I am also quick to think of those other Moms and Dads we have met who have had this same experience. I am thinking of those whose soul has been pierced much deeper than mine. And if you are reading this and you are one of those, please know that I am praying for you this month. I am praying that the Holy Spirit will bring you comfort like He brought to Mary and that He will bring you people like John, the disciple, who stood by her and held her up as she watched her Son be crucified. I am praying that somehow, in His divine way, God will heal the piercings you have and that He will cover them with His tender love for you. He has not forgotten you and He weeps with you at the piercings of your life. I pray that “in Him you will find fullness of joy.” Joy that is much deeper than just a happy face but joy that is deep and given by God.
If you are not one of those who have had piercings this year would you pause and ask God to be near to those who have lost their loved ones and to fill them with His comfort?
Merry Christmas to all of you. May the sweet baby Jesus born to YOU be the reason you celebrate this Christmas.