When Matt and I were pregnant with our first child, Matt's duty station for the Navy changed. In the late fall of 1994 we moved from upstate New York to Connecticut for Matt's first assignment on a fast attack submarine. We made a quick trip to the coast to being looking for housing in the community. A number of base closings had caused the relocation of several thousand families to the New London Base and so we would not be able to get into Navy housing for about a year. We left the mountains of New York on a Friday afternoon, drove the several hour trip down to New London and started to look for a hotel for the night. Literally every hotel we went to was full. Finally, we found a place where the night manager reluctantly stated "if the people don't show by midnight you can have that room I guess" So we waited, in the car, in the cold. And we talked about Mary and Joseph. Pregnant, cold, tired. No room at the inn. Eventually we were given the room. No star in the sky, no heavenly hosts - just a young couple praising God for the provision of a little hotel room that provided shelter for the night. For the first time in my life I felt like I could relate with Mary. God had provided, though not in a manner that she had expected I'm sure - and He provided for us too.
Twice in Luke 2 there is reference to the fact that Mary treasured things up in her heart and pondered them. There were things that Mary kept for herself. Insights, blessings, whispers from her heavenly father. She was aware. She was alert. There were times when she made the effort to pay attention, and make a mental treasure. The second thing I can learn from Mary in Luke 2 - pay attention, some treasures are just for me.
Mary was a good mom. She took her boy to temple, and to the feasts. She was doing her part to raise her child up with a strong faith connection and tradition. But she was human. Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem but they were unaware of it. Thinking he was in their company they traveled for a day. They began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him them went back... Many and Joseph were busy doing their thing and they moved on without Jesus...and they didn't notice at first. When they did realize what was going on, they looked for Jesus where they were. Then they went back to the place that they knew Jesus was.
This was the third thing Mary decided to teach me, and it isn't a comfortable lesson.
Wow! Do I sometimes forget Jesus? In the busyness of my life, how many times have I rushed ahead without God and then realized later that He wasn't there? How many times have I tried to find God in the choices that I have made and the paths that I have followed all on my own? The cure for this of course is repentance. When I am not where God is, I must go back to God. (just like Mary and Joseph went back to Jerusalem). It can hurt. It might be embarrassing. It may cost me some pride. I need to get over it, and get back to God.