As we prepare our hearts this season during Advent, I often find my mind wandering to Mary. In the great story, after all, she is a mother, and therefore the one I most relate to.
Reading through this story, I am left wanting more. There are so many details missing and I find myself filling in the blanks.
What was Mary’s labor like? Did she cramp and suffer through the ride to Bethlehem? Or was God merciful on her, granting her Son a fast entrance? (I’d like to vote in favor of the second option seeing as how the suffering for this child would most surface later in life. Though perhaps an agonizing labor was to prepare her for what was to come….).
Did she bleat and moan in the safe presence of the animals? Was she quiet and introspective, young but strong as the Scriptures seem to portray her?
I assume Joseph was there to rub her back and catch her Child in the absence of a midwife or mother. Did this act bond them together, strengthening his love for this woman he had not known and this child that was not of him? After the moment had passed, was she embarrassed by his presence? Did he fumble around, feeling like an intruder on a helpless stranger?
I find it kind of God to allow Mary and Elizabeth to be with child at the same time. Elizabeth, who had waited years for this moment, was just a few months ahead of Mary and had possibly watched many friends enter this stage of life prior to her. As Mary was heaving alone in the darkness of the stable, were Elizabeth’s sage words running through her mind as a constant reassurance? After He was delivered, was she wrapping Him remembering Elizabeth explain, “Now this is how you swaddle a baby, Mary”. That is how I would like to think it happened. My heart hurts for her to think she went through the moment alone…with only a man by her side that didn’t yet fully love her.
And finally, when Mary was told the Child she would be carrying, was she aware? Did she go to the temple and search the Scriptures for the words from the Prophets? Or did she close her mind to the future in order to enjoy the sacred moments she would be allowed with Him? Was her motherly intuition strengthened with knowledge that their days together would be short?
I love all of the beautiful reminders of the miracle of Jesus’s birth this time of year and each year the story grows a bit more personal.
I’ll be taking the next few days off as I’ve got some last minute Christmas outfits to sew up, a tree full of presents to open, a few holiday destinations to travel to, and an excited little girl to entertain.
May your days be Merry and Bright as well,