The Day is Here!

The day is here! Mary is in labor and everyone is excited except Joseph who seems to be more in a daze. After that long trip to Bethlehem then hustling worriedly for a place to stay we are finally settled in and just in time! Mary is nestled on a mound of newly gathered hay covered with the roughly woven saddle blanket from the donkey. Everything is unpacked and the place is quiet except for the cattle grinding away on their cud, tails swatting back and forth as they shift from foot to foot. In this cave turned stable malty smells of feed mixes with the odor of worn leather and the pungent tang of animal scents. Walking into the room with an apology and light meal scavenged from the storeroom the innkeeper inquires how the young couple is settling in but quickly sees the time for Mary is near. Running off he searches for his wife to come to help deliver the baby.

As Mary shifts to get more comfortable a flood of thoughts and memories of the last year come back to her overwhelming her emotions and mind. That exciting moment when her father sat her down explaining Joseph’s family just left after inquiring about a match with their son.  I am getting married! Then that frightening visit from the strange and intriguing man that called me the favored one. I still can’t believe it that God noticed me, but pregnant? What can I tell Joseph and my parents? How will I explain this to people in the village? Will I be thrown out? The assurance from the angel of God that all would be just fine was comforting – just continue to be righteous and honor Him. It was so good to visit Elizabeth who understood even before knocking on her door that my baby would be God’s own Son, the very Messiah we have heard about in synagogue forever. It was such an overwhelming act of love when Joseph followed through with the marriage after our year of betrothal, even if the ceremony seemed to have some gossip and smirks skirting the edges of the crowd; then having to leave almost immediately to head toward Bethlehem. That was a nearly unbearable ride; it is so good to stop and rest here in the stable. And, now it is time…

Joseph’s mind was racing over the whirlwind year as well as he paced back and forth. Mary’s family agreed to the match and she seemed pleased with the news. It is so fun to begin making furniture for the house that he was designing in his head. A place of their own! I did not know one could hurt so badly when Mary told me she was pregnant. Was that really an angel that came to me? I know it was but Mary is carrying the Messiah and I get to raise him. How do you raise the Son of God, can I teach Him anything?  None of the others believed me, get rid of her, “it is your right” they would say. I am surprised they even came to the ceremony but most did even though you could see that joy was not lighting up their eyes. I wasn’t sure Mary was going to make it on the trip she was struggling so much but she never complained. It is good to be stopped even if we are not in a room – we could be doing worse. Where is that innkeeper’s wife?

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9: 6-7)

…and she gave birth to her first born, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7)

As Mary held her new born son she looked up to Joseph and shared a knowing smile – Jesus was here, Emmanuel, God is with us and they knew hope was born for all.

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This daily devotion is written by John Key

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