This past Tuesday night my husband and I traveled to St. John, NB, where we ministered at a senior’s banquet. Although at first we seemed like misfits in a sea of sweet gray and white-haired men and ladies, we soon felt at ease with a great group of people. We enjoyed a fabulous candlelit meal, then gathered together to sing carols.
We sang as a group and then as a couple. My husband spoke with a message that never gets old- one that grows with mystery more and more each year to this mother-heart.
Oh, the irony in the account of our Saviour’s birth! Have you pondered it long?
The King of Kings was born in a stable.
Not in a palace, the place of all expectations for a royal birth. Not among sweeping satin curtains and overstuffed pillows. Not attended immediately by ecstatic servants who bustled to meet every need of the new babe and His mother. No royal announcements. No trumpets. No parades or messengers sent to every corner of the known world to declare this momentous occasion. No body guards or security for His well-being. In fact, He wasn’t welcome in the palace.
He was born where He was welcome.
Still today, He lives where He is welcome. He lives in my heart through salvation, and in yours if you’ve accepted Him as Saviour. Is He happy with His home? Is there a large room made specially for Him in the best part of my heart? Of yours?
He could have had everything arranged to perfection. But things were seemingly last-minute and ill-planned. He could have had the whole earth worshiping as He entered. But He chose obscurity and the quiet of night. He could have had the best of the best available in the culture of the day. But He chose the dirtiest, the least desirable.
Oh, the humility. The longer I ponder it, the more it overwhelms me. I am so far from His likeness!
My thoughts turn to Mary. I hope she has a big mansion in heaven and that she enjoys company. I want to talk to her. I want to know what she thought about giving birth in a dirty animal shed. In the days leading up to my own deliveries, most of my thoughts were of comfort and safety during labour. If you’re a mom, you’ve been there. We go through our pain-killing options in our heads, we do birth plans, we pack suitcases bursting with soft gowns and portable comforts of home (forget the toothbrush- we need our favorite soft socks!)
But then when it comes down to the moment, we do what we have to do. Everything else fades while we give life outside the womb to another human being.
I know Mary was a normal woman. Probably more like a girl. She probably did not want to be traveling at full term, much less giving birth in a public place with no amenities. And in a stable? I wonder, did she complain? Or did she sweetly accept every minute detail as part of God’s careful weaving of a most beautiful piece of His story?
Somehow I think that when the moment of birth arrived, everything faded and she focused on God. Literally.
The surrendered heart of Mary. She gave up her dreams for God’s mysterious, yet amazing plan.
The humility of Christ. He gave up Heaven’s glory and became a Servant. To me.
Ponder it a little longer than normal this season.