Imagination: the faculty of forming mental images or concepts of what is not actually present to the senses.
I have a vivid imagination. Most of the time, it’s a good thing, like when I’m reading a good book. I can easily get lost in the story and become the character. Right now, I’m reading a novel set in London during World War II. The protagonist is a young woman who works in a book shop. London is being bombed and I can imagine the sounds, sights and fear. My imagination can also take me to places where I haven’t actually been, like Narnia, for example.
Sometimes having a vivid imagination is not so good, like when I haven’t heard from one of my children and I immediately think the worst. My son and his wife were flying cross country last night. I woke up during the night and did not see the text that they had safely landed. You can imagine where my mind went.
I’m a Christian and a student of the Bible. As I read the Bible, I imagine what a particular event may have been like. That process got a boost after my husband and I visited Israel a few years ago. I saw places I had read about for years, like the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan River and Jerusalem. Most of the time I thought to myself “oh, so that’s what it looks like.” Now when I read a passage of scripture, I can visualize the setting.
I also tend to imagine what a particular person may have been feeling. Was Joseph terrified when his brothers threw him in the well? Was Moses broken-hearted when God showed him the promised land he wasn’t allowed to enter? Were the shepherds scared to death when a host of angels interrupted their quiet night of sheep-tending to announce the birth of the savior?
Being a woman, and a mom, I’m most attuned to the women in the Bible. I can imagine the anguish of Hannah as she prayed for God to bless her with a child. I can sense the relief of Ruth when Boaz accepted her and became her kinsman redeemer. I can think about what it must have been like to sit at the feet of Jesus like Mary, Martha and Mary Magdalene.
But the woman in scripture I think about the most is Mary, the mother of Christ.
It is mind-boggling to wrap your head around the concept of Jesus Christ being fully God and fully man. That is what we believe as Christians. Having a son, a first-born son helped make that more real. It was easier to imagine His humanness.
When my son was born, it was an experience like none other. I couldn’t even imagine the immediate love and bond between me and this tiny human. When I held him, I thought about Mary. Is this how she felt when she held Jesus for the first time? Did the pain and discomfort of childbirth disappear as she gazed into his face?
I continued to think about Mary and Jesus as my own little boy grew. Did he play with the other children? Did he love to give his mother hugs? Was she worried sick when she realized they had left twelve-year-old Jesus in Jerusalem, for three days? My son never went missing but simply thinking about it, imagining it, makes me sick to my stomach.
As we celebrate Easter, my thoughts again turn to Mary and Jesus, especially this Easter. My son turned thirty-three on Palm Sunday. Jesus was thirty-three when he went to the cross. As I think about my son, how much I love him and how proud I am of him, I can’t imagine how terribly painful it must have been for Mary when her boy was tortured and nailed to a cross to die. The sorrow must have been excruciating. It is difficult to even fathom.
But then came Sunday morning, Resurrection Day. Jesus came back to life, just as he said he would. I don’t know about you, but I think the happiest person that day was Mary — her son was alive, her savior lived.
He Is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!
Easter Blessings to You and Yours
How about you? Do you have a strong sense of imagination? If so, how has it affected you? If you are the mom of a son, did it ever make you imagine what Mary must have felt, especially at Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection? I’d love to know.