Cross @ Sunset

The Christmas story…so long ago, yet still so human. I often wonder what divine elements occurred (if any) that were different from my own children’s births. Jesus was, after all, the Messiah.  A baby, yes – but God’s Son.  So was Mary’s pregnancy and delivery easier than normal? Was Jesus born physically glowing? Cooing or screaming? Were there any medical issues, causing panic as Mary did not have the medicine and technology we do today? I look at my own daughter, tall and confident at 16, but I cannot imagine her in Bethlehem dealing with this maternal situation. Mary was perhaps 14. Was she scared? Prepared? Apprehensive knowing the relevance of the event? Did her midnight conversation with Gabriel overshadow her entire pregnancy? Was she comforted by his words… or unnerved? As women we often worry ourselves into a tizzy before a situation even occurs. Mary clearly trusted God (Luke 1:38), but she still had nine months to think.

Her pregnancy was a surprise to both Mary and her family, and then the roller-coaster began as the townspeople heard the news and (I’m sure) freely gave their opinions. Mary ran to Elizabeth, a cousin physically experiencing a miracle birth as well. She immediately affirmed Mary, which must have given her great peace in this unbelievable situation. I imagine them sitting there, looking at one another and saying, “Really?! This is happening?” over and over with mouths gaping. I think in the privacy of Elizabeth’s home, Mary was able to laugh and cry and wonder aloud all the things in her mind that others would imagine crazy. But not Elizabeth. Together they could bounce questions off each other and share wild emotions without worrying someone would think they were mad.

Joseph was comforted by an angel, but still had to confront his family and friends. And convincing them that God impregnated Mary?! How did that fly? I’m sure people laughed and harassed him the whole nine months. I wonder if his pride was wounded and if there were times in the middle of the night, he paced his bedroom and said, “This is nuts! I am out!” But ultimately God chose Joseph to protect Mary and to raise His Son, so I am confident that Joseph was well-equipped with wisdom, compassion, love, and quiet endurance to be both husband and dad.  Traveling to Bethlehem for the census was probably a relief to “get out of Dodge” for a while and be around people who didn’t know the whole saga.

As I sit in the sanctuary tonight with the tree lit and poinsettias lining the steps, with the candles flickering and the piano softly playing “Silent Night, Holy Night” – I wonder just how silent and holy the birth really was. My hospital room was filled with hustle and bustle, screams and cries, bloody cloths and bright lights.  What was the stable like? Stinky? Cold? Hot and humid? Quiet, but intense? Was Joseph the leader of the birthing team, encouraging Mary…or was Mary informing him what to do? Was anyone else present? A mid-wife found in one of the inns? How long was the labor? Was Mary in much pain? How much did Jesus weigh? The practical side of me wants to know all the answers…to BE there and really understand what happened that night. Perhaps…

 

The night went perfectly. An easy elegant birth.

Angels were watching, hovering the earth.

The woman was relaxed, a bit carefree

As she lounged on her camel hair settee.

 

Joseph was there, whittling a wooden sheep,

While Mary just pushed without making a peep.

Then “poof,” there He was – behold the King!

Now out of the womb, the angels did sing.

 

The baby was sparkly, glistened head to toe

And Mary was radiant with that new mother’s glow.

She checked her nails and primped her hair

As the shepherds arrived with their gifts to bear.

 

“He’s glorious! He’s beautiful!” they exclaimed at first sight.

But then how they marveled at Mary’s effort that night.

“Oh – it was easy! It was blissful,” she said with glee.

“Birthing a baby was painless for me.”

 

As the visitors left, the newborn gave a yawn.

So Joseph cuddled Him and sang a sweet song.

Mary just reclined, content as could be.

A night in Bethlehem – perfect for all to see.

 

In the course of history and for life in general, it doesn’t really matter “how” things happened that night.   I think it’s just me:  the human, the mother, the writer who wishes to know the intimate details. I understand that the Cross is the real “reason for the season” and that the Stable is a just place where people like to keep Jesus. There it was private and He was warm and fuzzy. The Cross was public and He was writhing and desperate. Pastor Bill reminds us tonight that the story didn’t stop there at the manger.  Jesus grew up and unless Easter came, Christmas had no point to it.  I understand it doesn’t matter my perspective about Mary’s emotions at His birth or at His death, but rather my personal actions now that I know His Purpose.  Still, I cannot wait to get to Heaven and have tea and girl time with Mary.

 

“And while they were there (in Bethlehem), the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”       Luke 2: 6-7

 

Cyndy Gusler

From the upcoming book Daily Devotions from a Worn Out, Wacky Woman of God.

From the Vine Ministries is established in Houston, Texas and gives Cyndy the opportunity to reach ladies all across the nation with a message of HOPE.  As a wife, mom, and mentor, her utmost desire is to be an ordinary woman used in extraordinary ways for Him alone! Visit FromTheVineMinistries.com for contact information and study material.