As Christmas nears this year I can’t help but think of Mary. I can’t even imagine being in her position. She was so young, so pregnant, so far away from home, and with a man she barely knew. She definitely puts my pregnancy woes in perspective, being due around Christmas has definitely put this holiday in a new light for me.
Being 8-9 months pregnant can be miserable, your whole body aches and feels weird because there is definitely another human in there cramping on the space that used to belong solely to your organs. And sitting, standing, walking, laying down, it doesn't really matter at some point it will become incredibly uncomfortable and even unbearable. All of this is true for me right now, bending over and picking things up can be one of the hardest tasks of the day, and yet I can’t complain, because I’m not riding a donkey over rocky terrain miles and miles away from my family. A donkey....seriously that sounds like the most uncomfortable way to travel right now.
Each night I go home and struggle to fall asleep or find a comfortable position on my memory foam bed, next to my husband whom I have known for years, and am completely in love with. Mary spent this part of her pregnancy sleeping on the hard ground wherever they camped for the night, next to her betrothed whom she was getting a crash course in getting to know.
I will deliver this baby in a hospital, with up to date technology, doctors and nurses, pain medication if I want it, and my family there to calm my nerves and coach me through this. Mary did this in a stable with animals in the next stall, far away from her family and everything she had ever known, with only Joseph to comfort her and deliver the baby.
Through all of this the Bible describes Mary as calm and with a sweet spirit. She must have been fully cloaked in the Holy Spirit to endure all of this and to endure it with grace. I think there is a lesson to learn here from Mary. If you truly put all of your faith in God and trust His will and Spirit, even the most painful, scary, and stressful moments of your life can be endured in peace and calm.
I pray the peace that passes all understanding, that engulfed Mary during that first Christmas, surrounds you this Christmas season. You may not be giving birth to the Messiah, but you have been called, and given the power of the Spirit to do mighty things for God. Don’t let the stresses and inconveniences of life deter you from your call.
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.’” – Mary’s Song, Luke 1:46-55