Thoughts of a Mother on her Newborn Son
Now he sleeps, and I am left in quietness to look on his tranquility. Some scorn the reality of miracles. Man extols his discoveries, but you he could not make, for you are a masterpiece of God, fearfully and wonderfully made. The days of waiting have been joyous, though I longed for them to pass. The task of preparing for you has been delight. And now realization exceeds all anticipation. But then I am overshadowed with sadness, realizing the responsibility which you bring on me. Yet I am comforted that God has provided a stronger heart than mine, sharing with me the burden, and together our Father will give us strength.
How strange it seems that your first understanding of your Maker will be learned from my lips: your first conception of right and wrong will be gained from my teaching. "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Could, then, any occasion be more opportune that I should "examine myself, whether I be in the faith"? Perhaps you will be one of the happy children who will play in the streets of Jerusalem, but if the heralding of that Day is delayed, what lies beyond? What are my ambitions for you? Shall I always remember that goodness and gentleness of character are to be desired above all else, bearing in mind to teach you to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven?
You will not always be so innocent nor I so calm as now. I see the day in the future when my work has been long and arduous; the kitchen fire smokes, the cake is burnt, and the dinner is late. Who is this on the doorstep? A bright-eyed and boisterous little boy. His face is dirty, his hair tousled, shoes muddy and coat torn. In his hand he clutches a jar of bewildered tadpoles. First he irritates one way and then another until my patience is exhausted. What will happen to my ideals now? Firm discipline there must be, for unruliness disregarded will not guide you to the Way of Life; but whatever you behavior, it will not be an excuse for uncontrolled anger on my part. Even less must irritation descend on you, not because of your wrongdoings but because I am irritated by domestic mishaps. I will have told you the stories of Jesus, of his love and kindness and his justice, encouraging you to be like him. What will you think, then, of the mother who teaches you thus if she should forget all her teaching in a moment of stress? In your earliest years my error could only be covered by extra love and patience on future occasions, but as you come to understanding will I have the humility to explain my lack of justice, and to apologize to a little boy? Better that my prestige should suffer than that you should see my faith as shallow and hypocritical.
Will I be able to appreciate the meaning of small things to you? Will I be able to enter into your infant joys and sorrows? Will I ever be ready to encourage you, to spur you on along the right way, until that happy day dawns when you, now my new-born son, will be born again? I will see you change from babyhood to boyhood, from boyhood to manhood, and as you change so my influence will recede. But the impression of those earliest years will be imprinted on you for all your days. And you, how ill you think of me? Will you regard me as one who has helped or one who has hindered? As you set out upon your spiritual life will you feel that I have imprinted evil tendencies within you? Will you think more highly of yourself than you ought to think? Will you seek to excel for vainglory's sake? Will you be easily offended, unable to take criticism? Will you be given to sharp speaking, offending others? Or will you be meek and of quiet spirit, easily entreated, not easily provoked? Will you remember in your exuberant youth to be considerate for the feelings of others,, as true a gentle man as the one whom you call your Master? According as your parents have taught you so will you be.
I see a mother of long ago and the thoughts she utters are my thoughts also: "For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him." I, too, desire that my son should be lent to the Lord. So when the final trump shall sound, and when I stand before the Judge of all the earth, what will he say to me? I see him reproving me for my failures, but then he asks, "Where is the one talent that was given you? What use have you made of it?" Will I have hidden this talent in the earth, or will I with confidence be able to reply, "Lord, see my son"?
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