Monday, December 21, 2015

The Christmas Story

At this time of year, we are all familiar with the Christmas story. In case you aren't, I'd like to share it with you.

Mary was the young mother of Jesus, bethrothed to Joseph and divinely impregnated with this miracle child. Mary was anywhere between 12 and 14; unlike today's teens and pre-teens she may not have had any exposure to the birds and bees. So while she may not have been familiar with the ins and outs of having a baby she saw many of her peers married at a young age. Though it seems strange to us it was normal to her. But this normal was going to get even stranger.

An angel came to her and told her that she was going to have a baby - the Son of God.  Initially Joseph, who was much older than her did not believe her and only thought about what people would say if they found out he wasn't the father. But he too is visited by an angel, who confirms Mary's story.  So Joseph's heart is now softened toward his intended wife.

Mary's first pregnancy is quite unusual. After visiting her relative Elizabeth, she feels movement in her womb. I can only imagine that at this point Mary is amazed, while being humbled, and slightly afraid of what the birth will entail. Any mother to be knows, that once you feel movement in your womb, your mind finally accepts impending motherhood while being simultaneously amazed by the miracle of human life.

To complicate things further Mary and Joseph have to make the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be counted as part of the census. The trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem is about 100 miles; whether walking or travelling by animals this was quite an arduous trip in the third trimester. If walking, it may have made for a smooth uneventful delivery. If travelling on an animal's back I can imagine she felt every bump, as your nether regions are quite tender prior to delivery. Then, to give birth in a stable - with no additional medical personnel, just Joseph and God the Father watching over her to ensure that her delivery was smooth. I've often wondered who cut the umbilical cord, who cleaned her up and how did she recover so quickly.

But in spite of it all - the divine conception, the angelic visit, the initial disbelief by her husband and the long journey just before giving birth, Mary persevered.

In childlike faith Mary, accepts this assignment. I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.”  Luke 1:38

Three days before Christmas and I am struck by the young mother - Mary and her role in the Christmas story. Mary was the vessel for the greatest human gift. Mary was obedient and Mary had great faith. What would have happened if Mary insisted that this was not going to happen? What kind of Christmas story would we have? Those questions don't need to be answered because at Christmas time we are celebrating what actually happened - a Savior was born.
Who knows what great things can happen through us if we are obedient to God's messages.

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:16-18 [NIV]

May you be blessed this Christmas, regardless of what's going on in your life and how you feel.



  1. I cannot imagine traveling 100 miles by car during my 3rd trimester, let alone on foot or on the back of an animal. Thank you for the wonderful Christmas message!

  2. Very nice post. I know that your focus was on Mary and the birth of the Savior but I could not help but embark on a tangent as I thought about of her cousin, Elizabeth, who you mention in your post. Elizabeth's after menopause pregnancy was probably as much of a surprise to her as Mary's was. Elizabeth never ever expected that she would be with child at her advanced age. I only raise this point to highlight the miracle and majesty of life and to say that all things are possible through Christ . . . from the savior's birth (the greatest gift) to all the little things He does which fuel our life and clarify our faith. Thank you for the Christmas story in laymen's words for all to read and absorb.


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