Mary sighed softly as Joseph pulled her close. Within moments he was asleep. She understood. The long journey they had taken to Bethlehem was physically exhausting, and then there was the birth of her son. It was all so much more than either realized.
The light of a small fire that had been lit to keep them warm cast a glow over her young, lineless face. For the first time, she took in the scenery around her. It was not much of a shelterâ€”more like a cave, but it was sufficient.
When they arrived, Joseph quickly tried to sweep the dirt floor as clean as possible. He was a gentle man, but one who was as confused as she once was. â€œHow can this be?â€ she had asked with great anxiety.
Now, they rested. Strips of linen, from where she did not know, were wrapped around her baby that nursed hard against her breast. Her husband slept. Finally, there was silence as the light from the nightâ€™s sky washed in across them.
They were open to the elements, open and vulnerable, and yet a sense of peace and security filled her heart. She was safe but never had she felt so unsure.
Lord, she prayed, â€œWhat is this strange sense of strength I feel? How can I be so far from home, from family, from Elizabeth, from all that I know as familiar, and still know Iâ€™m right where You want me to be? How can this be?â€
Silence greeted her ears, except for the slight stirring of the animals that shared this common place with her and her new family. This time there was no angel to answer her words spoken in prayerâ€”no family member, except for Joseph, to touch her and reassure her.
Then she looked down. Her baby drew a deep breath and cuddled closer as if to say, â€œI am all you need. Peace is here.â€
Suddenly, a quick thought went through her mind: â€œDid he know her fears? Did he understand?â€
No, He was a baby. He was the One who sought her arms of security. So, tiny and yet, there was something more. The words God spoke to her through Gabriel returned to her mind: â€œThe Lord is with you. Do not be afraid . . . you have found favor with God. . . . You will give birth to a son, and you will give him the name Jesus, which means Savior, and He will be great.â€
Now, her own eyes grew heavy with sleep. There was moreâ€”so much more, and there would be time to remember and record it all. The world around her was in chaos. People longed for peace. Yet, she was the one who held Him against her breast.
Wonder, she thought before she drifted into a deep sleep, if they will ever come to know the peace I have right now? Pulling Jesus even closer, she nuzzled him and thought, I pray they will.
â€”The first Christmas was not what many artists have portrayed in their masterful artwork. Jesus came into a world embattled with sin and fear. Yet He brought peace of heart and mind to all who believed.
The same is true today. There is only one solution to the eternal hope we all seek, and itâ€™s not found in any place other than the love of God. May you experience His eternal forgiveness this Christmas and come to know the Savior, who truly is the Light of this dark world.
Angela Ramage Â© 2020