I marvel at the Christmas story every year. I love to hear about the shepherds and the wise men and the star in the east. I enjoy the story of holy visitation and heavenly proclamation. I love Christmas cantatas, candlelight services, and hot cocoa on cold nights. Three of my favorite scriptures in the entire Bible are found in the first couple of chapters of Luke. (Luke 1:37, Luke 1:38, and Luke 1:45, in case you were wondering.)
And while I never want to downplay the supernatural aspects of the Christmas story, I am most captivated by the natural elements. There is something about Mary that always captures my attention.
I imagine a teenage girl, who has never known a man in the biblical sense, tasked with something spectacular. I imagine her nine-months later, fully pregnant and weary after a long journey. I imagine her feet are swollen, and if she’s anything like me,(as I imagine she is,) she is not the nicest person when she ‘s tired. I imagine her side-eyeing her husband as he leads her to a barn, of all places, because he failed to make reservations. She never says a word. Mary is an humble servant.
From the time we meet her, we find this young woman praying. She wasn’t afraid to ask questions of the Lord’s angel. But once she received, an answer, she made no qualms about acting on the things the Lord had told her. A couple of times, the Bible mention that Mary “pondered these things in her heart”. I imagine pondering includes prayer. I know it usually does for me. For this reason, I believe Mary is an unwavering supplicant.
Finally, I wonder what she said when that first contraction hit her. I remember being in pain and scared about what was to come next. I was surrounded by trained medical professionals in the most sanitary environment. The whole place smelled like antiseptic and had I requested it, they would have given me enough pain medication to make the whole experience more bearable. She birthed a baby in a barn in front of an audience of livestock. Childbirth can be traumatic, even for the most prepared of women. I can’t imagine this first-time mom, far away from home, giving birth in these less than ideal conditions. Mary is an honorable survivor.
This Christmas, I am aiming to be more like Mary, serving, supplicating, and most important of all surviving!
Happy Christmas, my loves.