As parents, we like to think our children are above average. How many times do you see bumper stickers that read: my child is an honor student or I am proud of my cheerleader, football player, Eagle Scout, band member, baseball player, etc. etc. etc.? Being a parent of such an above average and special child brings many joys but also opportunities to focus only on competition to achieve a high status in society.
Imagine what Mary and Joseph thought when they took their baby into the temple for a simple, traditional church service. Only to be approached by Simeon saying he has seen salvation. It must have been overwhelming for Mary and Joseph. Simeon then told Mary, “behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel…and a sword will pierce through your own soul…that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed.”
Now it is even more overwhelming.
Mary and Joseph, just like so many of us, embraced the role of parent without fully realizing everything the role would entail. We see a new baby and find ourselves engrossed in their beauty and innocence. Rarely do we focus on the sleepless nights, the taxi service we become as they grow older, or the pain of seeing them meet their significant other and leave our homes to make their own.
Mary and Joseph know all the joys and pains which come with the role of parent and are with us through the entire journey as beautiful models in the faith. When it comes to competing for a high status in society, they trump all. Surely the bumper sticker on the back of Mary and Joseph’s camel read: “My child is God!”