If Mary could have written a Christmas letter to mail to the world, it might have gone a little something like this:
Dear Family and Friends,
You can’t imagine the kind of year it’s been. Ups and downs and many surprises - Let me start at the beginning.
Most of you know that last year I was betrothed to Joseph. He is such a good man, a hard worker and loyal. So loyal. We’d been betrothed just a short time when our plans began to unravel though. You know how it is. You get caught up in the planning of your life together with someone you care about and all other details in life get blurred. Well, Jehovah God must have really wanted to get our attention, because in the midst of my normal life, an angel appeared to me to tell me that I would carry the Savior that my people have been waiting forever for.
Now before you go closing this letter up and tossing it into the roaring fire, please keep reading. Like you, I could hardly imagine the messenger before me. I kept rubbing my eyes in disbelief wondering if I was dreaming or hallucinating. Then the Angel began talking, comforting me in my fear. He told me “do not be afraid”. I was afraid, but it was like an out of body experience, it was that feeling of ‘if this is true, why, of all the girls in the world would God pick me?” I was a young woman barely experiencing womanhood…and unmarried…very unmarried. That night as I thought about my amazing and almost unbelievable encounter with the angel, the news began settling in. I was carrying….in my body…this very moment….the Christ child. The one who would save the world….the long awaited baby. I was the virgin the prophets spoke about. The one every mother wished her daughter to be. I was that one. And it was there that I fell to my knees, feeling unworthy, scared, overwhelmed, self-conscience. How would I tell Joseph? Would he believe me? How would I love this baby? Would I be a good mother?
You can imagine the reaction as word spread of my pregnancy. My family was concerned for my safety. Girls didn’t just go around claiming they were with child….let alone the Christ child. I was sent to visit my cousin. After making the journey, confessing my heart to Elizabeth seemed the only natural thing to do. She then told me God had spoken to her that her child would prepare the way for the Christ-child. After all, she herself was expecting a miracle, she could understand. I was comforted and cared for and soon it was time for me to return to my family…and to Joseph.
Imagine telling a man who thinks he is marrying a virgin…that his betrothed is with child. But in due time, in God like fashion, an angel appeared to my Joseph and comforted him, confirmed the upcoming birth of Jesus and told Joseph to care for me. When Joseph told me these beautiful things I rejoiced. God was taking care of me…and this tiny baby I held in my womb…and heart.
Joseph and I made the 70 mile trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem to pay taxes. I was feeling tired and uncomfortable. I was obviously expectant. When we arrived in Bethlehem we tried to stay in several inns, but to no avail. Everyone was in Bethlehem. There were no vacancies. Thankfully, the last innkeeper said we could rest in his stable. As I descended the donkey from the day’s journey, I felt the first pains of labor and hours later, in the stillness of the night, amidst cattle and hay, Baby Jesus, the perfect son of God and man, was born into the world.
Like every parent, Joseph and I counted fingers and toes and listened for rhythmic breaths. He was here! He had arrived. Part of me wanted to shout it from the mountain top and part of me wanted to embrace this quiet moment, with this Christ child, cradled in the safety of my arms.
The days and weeks between then and now have brought visitors from near and far. A star led shepherds and wise men to us. They brought gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Such lovely gifts for Jesus.
I am humbled and blessed that God chose our family for Jesus. When I think about this responsibility I am overwhelmed. The words of the Angel ring loudly in my ears, “Do not be afraid”. As a mother, my love already exceeds anything I have ever experienced. Joseph and I are married now. His unconditional love for me and Jesus is proof of God’s amazing plan for our lives.
This year has been hard and wonderful and good and surprising and exciting and fearful and amazing and beautiful. What I have learned is that the faithfulness of God and His Words are true, dependable, trustworthy, good and the only thing in life that is worth putting my faith in. As I look in Jesus eyes, I see that same faithfulness. I believe God will use this babe to bring healing to this broken world. I believe God will use the child to save us from our sins. I believe…I believe…I believe.