Dear Christian Sisters,
Today, we celebrate Jesus’ birthday by remembering that God the Son gave up His heavenly dwelling for about 33 years to become fully human and yet still fully God.
Through His sacrifice, Jesus knew what it was to be human:
- to be tempted,
- to be dishonored,
- to be distrusted,
- to be frustrated,
- to be hated,
- to be betrayed,
- to be in great physical pain,
- to be loved by His friends,
- to be loved His siblings,
- to be loved by His earthly father and
- to be loved by his mother.
Today, we celebrate that we have a God who can fully empathize with us.
Let us also celebrate all that Mary and Joseph did to bring Jesus into this world.
We left off with Joseph taking Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Today, that would be a 2-hour drive, but Mary and Joseph would have walked 5-7 days.
Can you imagine walking and riding a donkey for 5-7 days while 9 months pregnant?
My only consolation is that Mary and Joseph would have been traveling in a caravan for safety. Certainly there were other women in the caravan to console her.
While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. Luke 2:6
I’d be ready to give birth, too, after that trip!
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
Many people were traveling for the census, so it’s no surprise that there was no room for them in the inn. They would also be looking for privacy so that she could give birth.
With so many people in the inn, certainly there were women there to help Mary give birth.
After giving birth, Mary settled in for a little sleep for giving birth after such a long trip would certainly make a woman exhausted.
But people wanted to admire the baby, including some some who were unexpected.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
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.”
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:8-14
We sing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” but the angels said it.
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:15-18
“All who heart it”… Today, this would be like all the visitors at the hospital stopping to admire baby Jesus and then a group of homeless people come in to see the baby and tell this wild story of seeing angels.
Consider this: Mary knows that she gave birth to the King of Israel. All the Jews expected a political savior. Yet instead of Jewish Priests and Hollywood stars coming by to congratulate her, homeless people show up.
Would you believe them?
But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Luke 2:19-20
May we spend today glorifying and praising God for all that we have heard and seen of Jesus in our lives. May we also appreciate Mary and Joseph all the more, understanding just how brave they were.
P.S. What about the wise men, you ask? Well, they didn’t arrive in Bethlehem until almost 2 years later! (Matthew 2:7, 16)