My son’s birthday is close to Christmas. Because of this, I often think of Mary, Joseph and Jesus, and what that first Christmas must have been like. I don’t know if I would have had the strength and faith Mary had if I had gone through all she endured.
When Mary was pregnant, she was a young teenager engaged to be married, and traveling far from her home. She was probably scared and worried about the pain of giving birth, what would happen during the process and wished her mother was around for knowledge, comfort and support. She only had a fiancé who was just as unsure as she was about the whole process. Both were road weary, perhaps a little crabby and needing a place to rest. Mary might have been experiencing the early pangs of childbirth and keeping them to herself.
Bethlehem was crowded with people coming for the census and to pay their taxes. They have checked every in in town, and there is nothing. The innkeepers have little compassion because they are full and over their limit and are tired of saying there is no room. Finally, there is an innkeeper who notices the very pregnant and young Mary and possibly sees the pain of a contraction cross her face. He has compassion and allows them to use his stable area.
Just as Mary and Joseph get settled, Mary goes into hard labor. The pain is intense, and both of them are frightened. Joseph is afraid Mary is dying and holds her hand, tries to sing to her, and talks softly assuring her he loves her and everything will be okay. God’s presence fills the stable and a soft glow comes over everything. He guides them both through the birthing process, and His spirit of comfort surrounds them both.
They hold their newborn son knowing they have witnessed one of life’s miraculous moments and are in awe. They praise God for His guidance and presence in the stable with them. Both count the baby’s fingers and toes and can’t believe how small and perfect they are. All their doubts and worries turn into hopes and dreams.
Jesus was not Mary’s only child, but he was her only son by God. As she held her son, she knew he was destined to do great and wonderful things. When you hold your newborn child, you also hold all the hopes and dreams for them. You want for a good life for that baby!
I often wonder if Mary suspected her son was born to die, just as innocent of a crime then, as he was at birth. She knew he came to save the world, but was she aware of the price? Did she know she, too, would have to pay the cost? How could she bear to watch him die on a cross so cruelly? What faith and trust it took to turn Jesus over to God and watch her son grow up, do amazing and good things and then die publically like a criminal! Yet, she believed God was doing what was best. Every birthday my son has, I contemplate Mary’s strength and faith and how it shines during this holiday season.
And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.