The Giving of Mothers

“In Giving, a man receives more than he gives; and the more is in proportion to the worth of the thing given.”

George MacDonald

Here MacDonald uses the general pronoun “man” for mankind. But women are specifically called to give, and we, and the world at large, receive through the giving.  In having a child we give that which is of much “worth”. Pregnancy is often difficult, birth painful, and rearing a child is all-consuming. We sacrifice our bodies, time, and comfort to bring new life into the world. 

Mary, the mother of Christ, was visited by an angel to inform her that she would be the mother of the Messiah. She was an unwed woman and knew the judgment she would receive from her community. Before her lay a difficult road, perhaps more difficult than she could imagine- suffering on the road to Bethlehem, a traumatic birth in a stable, fleeing to Egypt, and the eventual crucifixion of her beloved son. Yet when the angel appeared to young Mary he said,  “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  To which is replied, “I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.”

Mary was not naive to the hardship she would face, but she was faithful. She trusted the words of the angel which told her she was “highly favored”. Later her cousin Elizabeth, who had Mary’s condition revealed to her through the Spirit, proclaimed to her: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

The word “favored” is used again by Elizabeth. It signifies honor. Mary, a woman of no worldly significance or power, had the honor of carrying, delivering, and raising the Savior of the world, as His mother.

We, women, are highly favored in our opportunity to become mothers. Having a child is an immense blessing of eternal significance. Being a Mother is much more than the physical hardships or sacrifices – it is the spiritual blessing of raising a beloved son or daughter of God. This bond between Mother and Child is eternal. Christ’s thoughts turned to his mother in the moments before his death, his final words instructed his apostles to care for her.

Oftentimes we may not be able to discern how our sacrifice will return to us, but we trust that it will. With the birth of our own son or daughter, we renew humanity. Each child we give the world brings renewed compassion, intellect, insight, revelation, will, and beauty to humanity. When I look upon any of my own precious children I see a gift of great worth, a worth that far exceeds my giving.

“Every child begins the world again.”

Henry David Thoreau
The Visitation of the Virgin to Saint Elizabeth, Unknown 1518

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