{Why yes, I’m about to fill up this very Christmas-ey Christmas post with nothing but Thanksgiving pictures!  I just don’t know when else I’m going to get to share them with you if I don’t do it now.  We had FIFTY family members (and a friend or two) over to our house for Thanksgiving this year.  Don’t worry, everybody brought food, and I only made a handful of dishes.  I’m not going to put captions on the pictures because I don’t want to break up the continuity of the post…so good luck figuring out who’s who and what’s going on 🙂 Oh and P.S. A BIG BIG thanks to my sister Kendall, who helped me all week to get ready.  The big pregnant lady doesn’t move too quick these days and tires easily…I don’t know what I would have done without her.}

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”  Luke 2:19

Every year something different about the Christmas story seems to spark within me.  I love that His book is called living and God-breathed, because those two adjectives so perfectly describe the experience of discovering Scripture.

My Dad called me last week, with a thought that I had been pondering myself.  “You are just like Mary this Christmas–GREAT with child.  You’re feeling the same kinds of things she was feeling all those years ago,” he said. {Dad also went on to suggest we stage the Christmas story here at the house, for the girls’ great visual benefit…Somehow me wearing a robe while Jeremiah lead me around on a horse in the backyard–or, worse still, staging a birth scene in our barn–didn’t appeal to me :), but thanks Dad for always seeking out those “teachable moments”!}


As I try to go about my daily business, carrying what now looks much more like a 7-year-old-boy-child than a newborn in my burgeoning belly, I’ve thought a lot about Mary.  I’ve heard estimates that she was probably around fourteen years old, something of a baby herself, and we know she was engaged to be married.  When the angel came to tell her that she would carry GOD’s SON in her belly, he had four basic pieces of news. 1) The Holy Spirit would come upon her and she would give birth to God’s son (can that count as more than one piece of news?!)  2) She was to name the baby Jesus.  3) He would rule a kingdom that would never end.  4) Her previously barren (old) relative, Elizabeth, was six months pregnant.


A lot to take in for one conversation!  And a LOT of faith to believe what was being told to her.  Don’t you know that when the angel left her, Mary wondered if she had lost her ever-loving mind.  Can’t you imagine the wonder and awe she must have felt–praying it could really be true, while at the same time scared to death about what people would think of her and HOW she would explain herself to Joseph.


Now Mary was highly favored by God for a reason, so it’s very possible that her motives and mine might not align at all :), but the first thing we have recorded that she does is the same thing I would have done.  Of those four pieces of news, only one was testable–that Elizabeth was six months pregnant.  If that were true, it would make the rest of her news seem a lot more believable, wouldn’t it? And before I told Joseph I would have loved a little proof, wouldn’t you?


The Scripture says she “got ready and hurried” to a town called Judea, where Elizabeth lived.  Don’t you know she prayed her whole way over that dusty countryside?  “Lord, I want to believe you, but the news seems so unbelievable.  You’re trusting ME with YOUR son?  Me?!  You don’t owe me any proof, and I don’t want to displease you by asking for proof, but a little reassurance from Elizabeth sure would ease my heart.”


And she got her peace of mind, didn’t she?  When Mary reached Elizabeth’s house we know that the sound of Mary’s voice caused Elizabeth’s baby to leap within her womb and Elizabeth cries, “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?…Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord said to her will be accomplished.”


Isn’t that beautiful?  Don’t you love those moments when God erases your doubts with confirmation from other believers?  Oh! To be reassured that her news was true by Elizabeth’s words and the FACT that at least one of the things the angel told her was unquestionably true, must have been exciting and wonderful.


But Mary’s story wasn’t all confirmation from others, green lights to proceed, and joyful experiences.  I’m not a Biblical scholar, and I’m not about to do a bunch of research this beautiful afternoon, so if I’m wrong y’all deal with me gently.  BUT I don’t think Joseph and Mary were married yet when they made the trek to Bethlehem for the census.  And if they were not technically married, I don’t think Mary would have been required to go with him to register….And (if I’m right) I think that says a lot about her and her relationship to Joseph.


First, as a young girl about to have her first baby, close to her due date, don’t you imagine it would have been much more comfortable to stay at home–close to her mother and other experienced women–to await the arrival of her son?  I’m 3 weeks from my due date, and this past weekend I was too nervous to travel by CAR to ATLANTA (I think they have a hospital or two there) with my husband of eight years who has delivered a baby or two and at least has a medical degree.  How much do you think Joseph the carpenter knew about birthing babies?  And how comfortable could an engaged VIRGIN feel at the thought of her betrothed witnessing/helping with her delivery?  That girl had some FAITH in a big GOD to take care of her!  Does any other neurotic, protective, hypochondriac pregnant lady want to give me an Amen?!


And then the discomfort of the journey itself…I’m seriously considering skipping the couple of hours of family Christmas carroling in the horse and buggy, in the cold, that my family is doing Friday night.  I can’t imagine how I would respond if Jeremiah asked me to hop on the back of a bouncy donkey and take a journey for a couple of DAYS.  Do you think Mary had to pack food and feed them both along the way?  My back and my brain hurt\ just thinking about it.


Despite all the fear and work and discomfort, she followed her soon-to-be husband.  She trusted God first and Joseph second to care for her and the miraculous baby growing inside of her.  What a testament to me as a wife.


But then what happened?  Don’t you know Mary was hoping and praying she would make it back to the safety of her home before the baby came?  Don’t you know she prayed and prayed along this journey, just like she had on her way to see Elizabeth? “God, please, PLEASE keep Jesus and me safe.  Lord I hate to be picky, but it will be embarrassing and scary to have this baby without any other women to help me–to tell me what to do.  Please don’t let Joseph have to see me like THAT before he even marries me.  But Lord, if it’s your will for me to have Jesus in Bethlehem, I’m trusting that you’ll take care of the details.”


Don’t you know, as those pains started coming closer together, and Joseph knocked on door after door without finding a place for her to even lie down, that Mary had to start doubting…everything.  At least, I know that would have been my tendency.  It’s easy to trust God when things are going right, when circumstances and other believers confirm His hand on our life, but what about when things don’t “go right”?  Our tendency is to doubt ourselves–maybe we misheard His will–first, then we can start doubting Him–the goodness of the God who IS love.


Mary hadn’t misheard God, despite how bleak it must have seemed to her on that cold night.  She couldn’t have realized it at the time, but she was fulfilling every. single. prophecy that had been made about the Christ-child, and ultimately God took care of His son and the obedient vessel He had chosen to deliver him safely into the world.


That’s why my favorite verse for this Christmas is the one that I wrote at the start of this post.  I have a picture I took of Jeremiah from my hospital bed just minutes after Pace (our first baby) was born.  There is no doubting the look on his face, or the feeling in his heart in that moment.  I had been carrying this tiny child, feeling her move, and hiccup, and grow within me for 9 months.  I had slowly come to realize the truth of the miracle that is bringing new life into the world over those countless hours, but Jeremiah had not.  I think it’s true for most Daddies.  The reality of the miracle that’s happening doesn’t manifest itself for them until delivery.  And then, the wonder hits them all at once.


I imagine Mary, after all those months of believing God and carrying that secret within her, after the doubt and fear of an unplanned birth–finally holding her miracle safely in her arms.  The confirmation of the shepherds and their witness of the heavenly host of angels singing about their joy over her baby’s birth.  It must have felt, in an immensely magnified way, something like what I felt snapping that picture of Jeremiah from my bed.  God is good!  He was right!  He used me! And now everybody else understands this joy I’ve been carrying all by myself…

“And Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19



22 Responses to “Pondering Mary”

  1. laurenbtrain says:

    this is the most amazing post. i have no words.

  2. Molly says:

    Everytime I read your words I think, this is the most beautiful thing she has written yet.

    And somehow, this might actually be one of the most beautiful things I’ve read… ever.

    Thank you for sharing such a picture of Mary with us. And blessings over you as you deliver that sweet boy into this world.

    Merry Christmas!

  3. Sarah A says:

    Thank you…………

  4. Taylor says:

    Abby, glad you told the Dad story — I can hear him now!
    Of course, you have conjured up a beautiful picture for me to keep with me this Christmas season!
    Thanks – Love you

  5. Abby….beautiful words, and beautiful pictures. Thank you for bringing to life such an incredible story. It was good to run into you guys the other day!

    Merry Christmas

  6. Katie Snow says:

    What a beautiful post! Many wishes for a wonderful Christmas with your family and prayers for a safe and healthy delivery of your new little blessing!

  7. Meredith says:

    Loved the words AND the pictures!

  8. lindsey says:

    please let me come whenever ya’ll stage the Christmas scene. that made me laugh out loud. beautiful pictures. especially like the one of kendall & watson on the porch {I’m assuming that’s watson?!}. again, such a great though-provoking post. looking forward to seeing your great-with-child self soon:).

  9. lindsey says:

    that would be “thoughT” provoking:). also, forgot to say that i can’t believe that table?! ya’ll are champions to have 50 people for thanksgiving dinner!

  10. Rayne says:

    Absolutely beautiful, the Holy Spirit is really speaking through you!

  11. Natalie says:

    Wow! That’s really all I can say. What a beautiful, thought provoking perspective. I always get excited when I see your blog title highlighted in my reader. You never disappoint! Merry Christmas to you and your family! Praying for a safe and healthy delivery for you and your baby boy.

  12. Gina says:

    I’ve always loved that verse! Love your beautiful words and your Thanksgiving looked wonderful! 🙂

  13. Natalie Roe says:

    oh abby! when i was pregnant with bennett {and again now with jacob} i spent so much precious time pondering mary and the amazing charge she was gifted…and the amazing blessing we are given in carrying His children! it made it even more poignant that i was was due around Christmas…obviously you share the same awe 🙂
    and thank you for the sweet words on my blog…you should definitely have some pics taken…even if they are silhouettes and blurry…self timers are your friend!
    thoughts with you these last few weeks of your pregnancy…hope you have an amazing Christmas!

  14. KeKe says:

    Let’s be honest, you did it all and I was merely a set of hands. I know I am your sister but seriously your gift of words is incredible, I felt like I was there (with Mary obviously I was at Thanksgiving 🙂 Looking forward to holding Jay Paul and watching your story continue to unfold. I love you.

  15. Ashley Gaskin says:

    No words for this. What an amazing post! I always love reading your words. Thank you so much. Perfect timing to read this. Thank you! Merry Christmas!

  16. Ashley Gaskin says:

    AMAZING POST!!!! I love reading your words. Such perfect timing for me to read this. Thank you Abby so much for sharing.

  17. Ashley Gaskin says:

    Sorry didn’t mean to post twice but the first one didn’t show up until I typed the second one but I really love this post.

  18. Celeste Kelly says:

    Peace and blessings be with you and your family this Christmas season. I, too, read and was inspired by your words and choices of Scripture. I am always pondering the role that Mary played in the Christmas story. She was chosen by our Lord to be the Blessed Mother of the Christ Child. Of all the women on the face of the earth, God chose Mary and her answer was “Yes.” She obeyed God and, forevermore, inspires us as women to follow God where He leads. Mary, the Mother of God, Jesus the Son, speaks to us today and leads us to follow Christ. Make your Christmas be blessed with the love of family and friends~

  19. Jenny Taubel says:


    I don’t know you and cannot even exactly tell you how I found your blog but your gift of words is incredible. Thank you for such a wonderful way to ponder Mary. I am “great with child” as well and I have no words after reading this beautiful post.


  20. Melissa says:

    Amazing post and wow what an amazing table and holiday dinner!

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