He was a special baby, this darling little boy sleeping so peacefully in his mother’s arms. He was a baby born to die . . . born to die the death of a criminal, though he would never commit a crime, never tell a lie, never even think an evil thought. Yet he was destined for such a death before he was born.
What does his mother think as she holds him, so close to her heart? How much does she know? The angel said this child he would be great, that he would be called the Son of the Most, High, God!
She was a young virgin eagerly awaiting her marriage to a nice man named Joseph. Then the angel spoke to her: “God has chosen you, Mary! You will become pregnant by the Spirit of God and you will give birth to a son, a son who you will call Yeshua, Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.”
“My son, the Messiah! Every mother has great hopes for her son, but my son! He will be the greatest of them all.”
When the women of the village meet at the well, boasting about their children, she will never have to worry. Whatever tales they tell about their children, she will know that this son, her son, is special and . . . unique! Will she boast about what a good boy he is? Will she tell the other mothers that he was born to be the Messiah? No, she must not. But, oh the temptation! Especially when that loud woman from across the street starts boasting about her darling Jonathan!
“Joseph and I will do the best we can with this special child God has given us. Joseph. What a wonderful husband! So strong, so understanding, so eager to do what is right for this child and for me. What other man would act like he has?
“The world so quickly pushes fathers into the background. I hope they never do that to him. My Joseph is the finest man who ever lived! He can stand with Abraham, Isaac, the prophets. This strong carpenter of mine with his rough hands and gentle touch is so good. When I told him I was pregnant, told him how the angel visited me and how God’s power overshadowed me, he didn’t reject me. He protected me. He assured me. He supported me. “That was a busy angel,” he said, ‘for he came to see me too!” I laughed. He’s always known how to make me laugh, how to put me at ease. In all the tense moments of these past few months, Joseph has been wonderful. Never demanding, always understanding. He knew. He knew that this child I carried was the One and Only Son of God. No husband will ever have to do what he has done, but I wish for every woman a man like my Joseph.”
Her baby stirs, and she draws him closer. Her baby. How much is this special child her baby? She knows the day will come, all too soon, that she will have to surrender him to the world, and to His Heavenly Father’s will for his life. Even his dedication was special.
“That old woman, Anna. That old man, Simeon. Of all the baby boys presented for dedication at the temple that day, they singled out my son. My son. How much is he mine? They rejoiced when they saw this child of mine. All their lives they had waited for this one moment, they told us. Every heartache, every dreary day, everything, was worth this one moment when they saw the Lord’s Anointed, the Messiah! My son, the Messiah! Will I ever get used to that? And how much is he my son? He is all mine, but all God’s, too. But he belonged to God first, and always will.
“Joseph and I will love this special son, we will teach him how to be a man, but we will never forget He is the Son of the Most High God. How hard it will be to let him go, but how wrong it would be to hold on. Yes, he is mine, he is ours, but he belongs to God . . . first and always. As God gave him to the world, we must also give him to the world. But how that thought pierces my heart! What will this world do to this special child? Still, I must let him go. He isn’t mine to keep. He is mine . . . to give away!”
My husband, Mike Constantine, wrote Mine to Give Away.
PWs, what do you have that you love and care for that you know you will one day give away? Like Mary, we treasure these gifts and care for them, but also knowthat at the right time we must release them to God. Like all mothers, one day we will send our children into the world to do God’s will.
As cross cultural workers, we experience the pain of giving away many times in many different ways. Like Mary, we want to do the best with what God has given and be ready to surrender to God’s will. It is ours, yes, but we are stewards, not owners. Mine to give away.