The first Christmas was far from ideal. Whatever Mary thought when she first became pregnant, it’s unlikely that a trip to Joseph’s ancestral home late in pregnancy, was in her plan. The decision by Caesar Augustus that everyone needed to be registered, so they could be appropriately taxed, would have cast a pall over the coming birth. I remember exhaustion, weariness and discomfort in the last month of my pregnancies. When I think of Mary making that long trip on foot or donkey, I imagine how difficult a journey it would have been.
Then to arrive in Bethlehem and discover there was no place for them to stay, was additional trauma for a soon to be mother. Yet, at that first cry of the baby Jesus . . . the cry that says all is well, her mother’s heart would have burst with joy. Was Jesus quoting Mary when he said, “A woman in labor is in pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish in her joy that a child has been born into the world.” John 16:21
These two thousand years later, we still celebrate and rejoice in the birth of Bethlehem’s babe. We still wonder at his coming: “Emanuel, God with us” . . . Jesus who spoke in words and parables which are timeless, fitting every age and place. We ponder the mystery, as we hear the ancient story again. How God so loved the world that God sent a Jesus to live among us, not to condemn us, but to save this world, God so loves.
“Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17
Daily Devotions and other Christmas resources can be found at this Link – Devotions for Advent to Epiphany