If you are a parent or an aunt/uncle, have you ever had your heart pierced over the promise and challenge of the children in your life? What kept you going?
Mary is often pictured as this calm, somewhat passive, subservient woman. But let's stop and put her shoes on for a bit. What must have it been like to raise Jesus? What would it have been like to hear those words from Simeon in the temple ("and a sword will pierce your own soul, too.")?
In Simeon's two prophecies (vs. 29-32, 34-35), what was he predicting about the work of Jesus? His effect on people? The pain of his parents?
One of the earliest controversies in the church (431AD Council of Ephesus) was whether to call Mary the bearer of Christ or the bearer of God. This distinction was less about Mary than about Jesus himself, but it shows just how incredible Mary's role was and the trust and vulnerability God gave over to this young mother. What does it mean to you that Mary was the bearer of God (theotokos in Greek)?
How do you and I "bear" God in our world today? What are we doing to be faithful vessels of his incarnation?
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