Read His Words Before Ours!
Touchdowns or tutus?
Guns or glitter?
Little man or little miss?
Cute ideas ABOUND on Pinterest for creative gender announcements!
I’m not exactly sure when these parties became a thing,
but I know they definitely weren’t trending in Mary’s day.
Even if they were, I doubt anyone would have celebrated.
She was an UNWED teenage girl.
Engaged to Joseph, but they hadn’t had “relations” yet.
Or so they said.
Seriously, you expect us to believe an ANGEL told you the Holy Spirit would come upon you and impregnate you with GOD’S SON?! Favored one? Blessed among women?
You keep telling yourself that, Mary.
Meanwhile, we’re going to shun you and spread rumors about your promiscuity.
We’re going to make assumptions about your purity, or lack thereof.
‘Happily Ever After’ clearly wasn’t happening.
As if shame and being an outcast weren’t enough, just as she was “ready to pop,”
the census ruling required Joseph to go to Bethlehem.
Can you imagine WALKING miles upon miles on dusty roads,
then sleeping under the stars with a rock as a pillow?
When you’re nine months pregnant?!
Topping it off, on arriving in Bethlehem IN LABOR, and finding no rooms anywhere!
As a mother of 4, childbirth instructor, and doula, Mary is my birth hero.
I tell my childbirth students, “If Mary can give birth, AS A VIRGIN, in a cave, then we can have our babies with all the comfort a hospital, birth center, or our home offers!”
Birth is beautiful. Joyous. Sacred.
As a doula, I experience births of all kinds,
but I can’t envision one more incredible than Jesus’
on that starry night over 2,000 years ago.
I often wonder what Mary’s labor was like. The Bible simply states, “while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.”
She didn’t have the comfort of a hospital, birth center, or even a living room.
No room period.
Only a shelter where animals mooed, brayed, and cock-a-doodled.
No epidural, no IV fluids, no pillows.
Just hay and straw.
And for Jesus’ bed?
A manger, the feeding trough for those stinky, slobbery farm animals.
No adorable receiving blanket or cute blue and pink striped hat for Jesus.
Just strips of cloth to swaddle the very SON OF GOD.
EVERY time I’ve held a newborn, emotion overwhelms me.
Still, I can NOT imagine all that went through Mary’s heart as she held Jesus and looked into His eyes, the eyes of GOD.
The God who’d created the universe and spoken stars into existence,
now uttered his first cries as a human baby,
completely dependent on her for milk, diaper changes, warmth, and everything in between.
She counted his tiny toes, and kissed his little hands.
The same hands that had hung planets,
parted the Red Sea,
held the sun still,
and brought city walls crashing down.
No wonder Luke recorded, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
No baby shower.
No birth certificate.
No newborn pictures.
No cute birth announcements.
Just lowly shepherds.
Uninvited by Mary and Joseph, but welcomed by God as they marveled at the baby King “wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in the manger”.
In the humblest of ways, God became flesh and dwelt among us, making His HOME with us. God Himself born as a tiny human, covered in vernix, amniotic fluid, and probably even some meconium (poop).
Talk about giving up everything and putting Himself in the midst of our mess!!!
He stepped down from His throne,
laid aside His crown,
and removed His royal robes,
replacing them with swaddling cloth.
Where majestic angels had bowed,
shepherds unfit to even enter the temple,
now knelt in the very presence of God.
Jesus left His throne knowing that one day He would be betrayed, beaten, mocked, and nailed to a cross.
He was born to die that we might live!
As He took His first wobbly baby steps,
was He thinking about the day He would walk up Calvary’s hill?
When He scraped His knee as a boy,
did He anticipate the pain of the wounds He would endure on the Cross?
As He worked alongside Joseph in the carpenter shop,
did the sound of the hammer ring in His ears as He looked ahead to the afternoon when nails would pierce His hands and feet?
From the moment the star shone upon His newborn face to the moment the sky went black and the ground shook as He breathed His last,
Jesus KNEW why He had come.
He’d made His home among us for 33 years
that we might make Him our home for eternity.
He left heaven that we might enter it.
He emptied Himself that we might be filled with His Spirit.
He was born a baby that we might become children of God.
That manger in the center of our nativity scene doesn’t just hold a sleeping newborn.
It holds HOPE.
HOPE in the middle of our death sentence which comes as a result of our sin.
Yes, you and I are walking around with Death has our Ruler
unless we reach out and make this Messiah ours.
Come to the manger and find HOPE swaddled here.
Come, surrender your sin and be filled with indescribable joy.
Come, be awestruck by His glorious majesty.
Come, be blown away by His undeniable LOVE as He offers eternal HOPE!
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!