This Christmas is particularly special as my darling sister is pregnant. I asked momma this morning if she remembers being pregnant during Christmas-time. (Luke and I were born late in the year, so no Christmas. She would have been just pregnant with Hannah during Christmas). So really this is the "first" Christmasy pregnancy in our immediate family (seeing as how Hannah is the first one of the children to be with child).
As per our Christmas morning tradition, we read the Christmas story from Luke 2 together. Dad gave a little sermonette to Hannah and Ben after our reading time and he read to them from Psalm 78 about raising Little Miss in a godly way.
My sister is having a baby. Being here with her and Ben has made it much more real. Last night, I was thanking the Lord that He allowed me to make it here before Little Miss is born to see it. Such a sweet gift to see my baby sister preparing to have a baby.
Many thoughts have come to mind about Mary and her first pregnancy story.
* Did she have a big sister(s) or brother(s) who were amazed by her pregnancy or were they skeptical of her story about the angel's visitation?
* Did those siblings talk to the baby within, did they have any idea or understanding that the baby within was the promised one they had been waiting for?
* Were Mary and/or Joseph's parents excited or fearful of being grandparents? Did they share in the public ridicule of their children?
* Did Mary receive the traditional Jewish baby celebrations? (I don't know if they did this, but I'm imagining). Was she jealous of her friends who were having babies at this time and wondering why it had to be so different for her?
* Did Mary wonder as a young girl is she would be the chosen one to carry the Messiah?
* If so, I wonder if she realized the implications this pregnancy would bring.
* I wonder if Mary was tempted at times to shout out during synagogue that the passages of prophecy being read were about the child she carried.
* I wonder if she wanted to cry out in frustration to those who looked down on her and tell them that this baby would be the one to bring about the freedom they so depserately longed for - not political freedom, but spiritual freedom.
The shepherds have also been on my mind. There were two signs the angels told them to look for, "you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger".
I tried looking up information on swaddling cloths, but didn't find a whole lot. Surely other little babies born in Bethlehem at that time also were wrapped in swaddling cloths. Hannah has blankets waiting to swaddle Little Miss too.
The second sign seems to be the distinguishing factor - lying in a manger.
How many other babies were lying in a manger that night in Bethlehem?
Can't you just imagine this group of shepherds, desperately in need of a shower, traipsing around Bethlehem during the night? They stop to peek into each stable/cave they find. Perhaps they find others staying in these stables, awaiting the census as well.
The question perhaps is the same, "Do y'all have a baby in here who is Christ the Lord?" (In my mind the shepherds have southern accents, which I know is not Biblically accurate).
Can't you just imagine the looks on the sleepy-eyed folks staying in there? "Are y'all crazy? We aint' got no baby in here." (Ok, apparently all of these people are from the South in my mind).
Finally, they arrive at the "right" stable. The one they have long-awaited for is here! They see the "Word made flesh, making His dwelling among us." Wow!
One of my favorite Christmas songs is "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus".
Come, Thou long expected Jesus
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.
I love this picture of freedom that can only be found in Jesus. The one long-awaited for, come to earth to rescue sinners. Mary may not have known the full implications of this, her first pregnancy, but the ramifications were/are eternal.