I wrote this after considering what it might have been like for Luke to sit down on a cool afternoon and interview Mary while gathering information to write his account of the Gospel. (aka "The Gospel of Luke") I pray the Lord uses it to stir your heart with fresh thoughts on the wonder of Christ-mas.
“I was young and fearful,” she continued, delighting in the opportunity to share what she had treasured for so long. However the bittersweet sting of those distant memories brought her back to that strange place. Strange, not only because it lacked the warmth and comfort of home but because their destination had taken them so far away from those that would have surrounded her with nurturing, knowledgeable care. As she continued to relay her story, she could almost feel the chill of that dark, dank cave on her now aged skin and smell the putrid air once again. “I remember so many questions and unspoken concerns that plagued my young heart that night. Questions like, ‘Did I make a mistake in coming?’ or ‘If only I hadn’t insisted on staying an extra day before leaving maybe we could have gotten better lodging’. Oh, but these thoughts came and went as the sudden pangs of the next contraction seized me. The time was near, and we needed to do what had to be done, so my husband and I made the best of what seemed like a bad situation. He was strong and patient, but I could see the concern mixed with fear in his eyes. There we were, seemingly all alone, and feeling somehow like we had failed. Never the less, nature took its course, and there in that drafty, damp, cold, smelly place He was born. Using what was available, Joseph removed the ‘swaddling cloths’ from his waist. I then took the long gauze like strips and gently wrapped up the baby’s soft fragile tiny body for warmth. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the significance of wrapping Him in what is normally reserved for a traveler’s death …burial clothes.”
A long pause hung in the air as she pondered that moment.
Luke then gently asked, trying to thoroughly uncover all the facts from this amazing yet humble woman, “So you were all alone that night? Besides you and Joseph there were no other witnesses to His birth?”
“Yes and no,” Mary thoughtfully replied with a slight grin on her face as if she was about to reveal some hidden secret treasure.
“We had visitors. Not the kind you might expect for the arrival of a King, but you and I both know that Jesus is no ordinary King. I was exhausted and needed to rest,” she resumed, “and although my arms longed to hold Him close, both Joseph and I thought it best not to have the baby on the filthy wet floor. So Joseph did what he could to make the feeding trough sanitary, dry, and warm. I laid there intent on capturing the sound of every breath and movement of my newborn babe as my mind again began to question if we had somehow missed God’s direction or could’ve made better choices. At the same time, I was awe struck with the wonder and responsibility of birthing God’s Son who was so tiny and dependant. Dependant on me, His mother! With my thoughts and emotions swirling, I drifted off to sleep whispering a prayer expressing both my concern and amazement. The next thing I remember, Joseph was gently waking me up to alert me of visitors. I did my best to compose myself as Joseph brought the only lamp we had closer. The visitors humbly came into the light, and as they did their faces seemed to radiate with joy. Hardly able to contain themselves these men shared with great animation details about what they had witnessed. (A MULTITUDE OF ANGELS REJOICING!!) I could barely hold back the tears! All my doubts and questions were melting with every word they spoke. Suddenly in my heart, I was overwhelmed with the intimate knowledge that we were precisely where we were supposed to be. Sending these shepherds, directly to us, to adore their Savior, God had affirmed and encouraged us! There were many things that I would not be able to understand in the days and years to come, but what I did know and was convinced of in that moment I tucked securely in my heart as a treasure to ponder and an anchor for my soul: ‘God with us’.”
“But Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart” Luke 2