As night fell, it took the sun’s warmth with it. Mary shivered and winced from the pain. The contractions had begun. The time was nigh and Joseph knew that he had to find a place for his betrothed to give birth to their son, God’s son, the savior of the world. Wrapping his cloak around her shoulders, he reassured her that he would find a place for them to spend the night. She knew it was unlikely as every single place they stopped was filled to capacity; with scores of people–people like them, who had traveled to Bethlehem, to be counted in the census. Caesar had decreed it and nobody was willing to disobey Caesar.
Still, even with the odds stacked against them finding a warm and cozy bed on this particular night, she trusted Joseph and even more so God, even if it meant going through the pains of childbirth in a cold, dark and musty stable. And that is exactly what happened. This young teenage girl, cold and afraid, clung to the strong hand of Joseph, drawing just enough strength and courage to push, not just once, but again and again and again until finally, with beads of sweat intermingling with tears of great joy, the little baby Jesus entered the world, setting in motion a chain of events that would change the destiny of humanity for eternity.
Today as I studied the Christmas story and tried to picture if this might have been how this night looked way back then, one of my all-time favorite Christmas songs came on the radio. As if on heavenly cue, the notes and lyrics of Mary Did You Know filled the room as well as my heart and I began to ponder what Mary might actually have known. On that first night as she held the baby Jesus, did she realize that these tiny little hands that were curled tightly around her fingers were the same hands that had actually formed humankind? Did she know that the small voice of her new little baby boy was the same mighty voice that had once spoken the world into existence? Did she realize, in the first hours of his earthly existence, as her lips brushed his tender newborn skin, that she was actually kissing the face of God?
What I realized is that I don’t have a clue as to what Mary knew on that night. Just the thought of kissing the face of God overwhelms me emotionally. No, I don’t know what Mary knew that night; but I do know WHO she knew. She knew God. And that was all that really mattered. Then and now, it’s all that really matters.
That shall be my take-away on this eve of Christmas Eve. The realization that all we are asked to do is believe in Him. To Know Him. To have faith in Him and His will and purpose for our lives. To remember Mary and every other biblical champion whose experiences have paved the way and apply those lessons and timeless truths to our own lives and paths. To recognize that we need not know everything in order to fulfil our purpose here on earth, but in knowing God that we know everything we will ever need to know.
Today, I take pause to thank Mary for her extraordinary belief and obedience. A scared teenager who could have never imagined the news the angel Gabriel delivered—that she, herself, would deliver a child, and that child would be the Messiah; THE King of kings; her Savior and the Savior of everyone who lived and would ever live. I thank Mary for not running away in fear and for being a willing servant who trusted God and obeyed His call. And for never losing faith even when things got tough. And, as we all know, things did get tough.
Lord, I pray today for the strength and obedience of Mary so that I may reply to you just as she did in Luke 1:38: “I am the Lord’s servant…may it be as you have said.” Fill my heart, Lord, with your presence and with courage, so that I may fulfil your purposes just as you have written. Happy birthday to You and Merry Christmas to us all! Amen and Ehmen!
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”… (Luke 2: 10-12)