Looking at the first Christmas through Mary's eyes

None of us know what Mary felt, but Scripture says it was something like this:   

The day began like every other day. Blog. Virgin Mary. 12. 10

Then out of nowhere a radiant being stood before me and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with  you." 

Somehow I knew it was an angel, yet why would an angel come to me? I was a poor young woman who lived in lowly Nazareth.

The angel said, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High."

I could make no sense of it, but as I felt my heart warm within me I knew it must be true.   

"How will this be, since I am a virgin?"

"The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God . . . For nothing is impossible with God."

I could say nothing but "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said."

Suddenly I was alone again and my heart brimmed over with wonder and joy.

But ...  What will I tell Joseph?

Joseph! My precious Joseph, my betrothed. As was the custom, we were waiting out our year of betrothal before we came together as husband and wife.

What would Joseph say when he found out? What would he do?

A shiver of fear ran down my spine. He could accuse me in front of the elders and have me flogged in the public square. I would be disgraced. Alone. 

No, I and this child would live in disgrace.

I sat a long time, pondering. Praying. Crying. I swung from joy to sadness and back to joy, over and over again. 

At last I resolved to trust the Lord, no matter what

As any other man would be, Joseph was stunned to find out I was pregnant. Finally he said he cared too much for me to see me judged. That dear, righteous man would quietly seek a divorce.

Not long after, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

Joseph believed! Neither of us really understood, but we believed

How, I cannot say, but we knew it had to be true that God chose Joseph and me to be part of his miracle in sending his only son to earth.

Joseph took me to his home. We already had agreed not to come together as husband and wife until after God's Son was born.

Just as I feared, the townspeople whispered about the child I was carrying. The men called Joseph a fool, but he paid them no mind. He became my protector and my support.

The months went by.

Then Emperor Caesar Augustus decreed a census must be taken of the entire Roman world 

Caesar ruled his Empire with an iron fist, so we had no choice. Joseph and I both belonged to the line of David, so we must travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, and then to Bethlehem, the city of David. 

Oh, the misery of that journey! I knew God's Son would be born soon. Whether I walked or rode on the donkey, I felt every jolt, every rock, every rut in the road.

Toward the end I did not think I could go on and I held my aching belly as I walked. We were close to Bethlehem when I felt a sharp pain down low. I knew my time to give birth would be soon.

Yet we had no place to stay.

Joseph searched the town, pounding on doors, frantically inquiring of innkeepers. There were no rooms, not anywhere. At last one kind man took pity and told us we could stay in his stable.

A stable for God's Son?

At least we would be out of the cold night air and have a bit of privacy. The innkeeper lent us a small oil lamp. We watched its light dance and flicker on the rough walls and listened to the soft sounds of the animals.

Joseph did what he could. He spread out a garment for me and helped me lie down on it. My swollen feet throbbed and my whole body ached.

We had only the warmth--and the smell--of the animals. Only our love for each other.

Only the waiting for God's Son to be born.

Then my labor pangs began in earnest, quickly growing stronger. Joseph stayed by my side, his eyes filling with tears as he stroked my forehead and tenderly whispered my name, over and over. I hear him still: Mary. Mary ...

Then the urge to push grew stronger. With one final push and a long sigh my labor was over.

God's Son, the Savior, the long-awaited Messiah, was born!

As I looked into my baby's face I wondered what the future might hold for him. Then I wrapped him in soft cloths I brought with me and held him.

After awhile I laid the Child on top of the fresh hay Joseph had spread in the manger. It was the cleanest place in that cattle barn.

We never could have imagined what would come next. A group of shepherds burst into the stable. They went right to the manger and gazed down at Jesus. Then they bowed down in worship.

Their faces glowed. 

As if they already knew who he was 

After awhile they told us what brought them to the manger. They were guarding their sheep out on the Bethlehem hills as usual.    

Suddenly everything around them shone so bright they fell to the ground. Then an angel appeared and said, "I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 

Before they could speak a word the sky filled with a great company of angels, all of them singing and praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men."

Just as suddenly the angels were gone. The shepherds could hardly contain themselves. One said, "Let us go to Bethlehem and see this wonderful thing!"

So they abandoned their sheep and ran as fast as they could to find the Savior, Christ the Lord, there in that lowly manger just as the angel told them. 

Why were any of us surprised?

Centuries before Jesus was born there lived a prophet of God named Isaiah. He foretold that a virgin would be with child and give birth to a son who would be called Immanuel, which means, "God with us."

I never stopped thanking God for choosing me to be part of that glorious night.

Still, to my dying day I wondered how it could be that one night God stepped into our world and almost no one paid attention.


Dear reader friends, 

To read the best-known account of Christ's birth, turn to Luke 2:1-20 in the Bible.  

Nothing has changed: Jesus is God with us. All who believe in him as Lord and Savior are forgiven for every sin and will live eternally. (John 3:16-17)

Thank you for reading my blog. I pray each of you will have JOY in Jesus this Christmas--and throughout every day of the year ahead!

With love,



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