Did she ever imagine that this prophecy would be fulfilled in her? What a stunning announcement it was when Gabriel appeared with such unbelievable news. As she cradled the infant Jesus in her arms, she remember her initial doubts and fears. She understood how life worked and knew that it would indeed take a miracle.
She also knew that it would be an unbelievable story to tell. How would she explain this to Joseph, family and friends? According to the laws and culture of the day, this was not acceptable. She could face severe penalties and even stoning if she was thought to be an adulteress. She knew that Joseph loved her very much and trusted her implicitly. But would he believe this?
As the baby Jesus let out a little whimper and Mary caressed His gentle face, did she remember the tears that flooded her eyes when she tried to explain to Joseph? She knew that it was hardly fair to expect him to believe but it was true, nonetheless. She explained it to him just the way Gabriel explained it to her.
"And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35
As Joseph knelt down beside his bride and the tiny Savior, Mary remembered when Joseph came running to her door with the news. The angel had spoken to him too. The smile of relief and the tears in his eyes were real. As Joseph placed his strong arm around his bride they looked deeply into one another's eyes and drank in the moment. Then Mary's gaze drifted downward toward the babe cradled in her bosom, Joseph could see the sadness that gave way to the joy.
Joseph knew what she was thinking and he tightened him embrace. They had talked about this before. They recalled all of the prophetic passages regarding the Messiah. They knew that His great cause would come at a great cost. Can you see Joseph taking his manly sized finger and slipping it gently into the tiny hand of baby Jesus while Mary's fingers stroked the tiny toes of His feet. Were their joys tempered by the sad knowledge that one day Roman guards would pierce His hands and His feet?
Did she ponder that prophetic passage of Psalm 22?
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?... All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts... For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture."
Never before had a young couple brought a child into the world with so much access to the knowledge of His destiny. Yet all of their Scriptures pointed to a Deliverer, a Messiah, the Christ. Even His name, Jesus, was given with the meaning, He shall save His people from their sins. All of their customs, traditions and Scriptures reminded them that there is no salvation without sacrifice. God had come in the flesh to be that sacrifice.
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed...He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:4-5, 11
Mary was a mother with a soul of conflicting emotions. She was an obedient yet imperfect servant. She was submissive and sorrowful yet honored and humble. While the interpretation of her name, Mary, means bitter she was also rejoicing in the salvation that her Son would bring not only to the world but to her as well.
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.”
All that Mary pondered on this lonely Bethlehem evening was probably more than she and Joseph could comprehend at the moment. Thirty-three years later, Mary would be standing at the foot of the cross as Jesus gave His life for the sins of the world. Even as a woman of strength and grace, the tears must have streamed down her face. Yet not once did she plead for His release or beg Him to deliver Himself. She knew from the beginning that he had a purpose and that it was not an easy one. She knew also that He would raise from the dead in three short days.
One of our modern Christmas carols poses a thought provoking question in its lyrics. Mark Lowry asks, "Mary did you know that this child that you delivered would soon deliver you?"
While their hearts could not help but to wince at the suffering that they knew was imminent, they clearly understood that the pain would not be permanent. Greater and eternal promises awaited this child.
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." Isaiah 9:6-7
The whole purpose in Christ's coming was so that we could connect with Him. He came to pay for our sins so that we might enjoy the forgiveness that comes only through Christ. As we celebrate the Christmas season, will you ponder your walk with God? Will you consider the love that Jesus Christ has demonstrated for you? Would you make that great connection by receiving Jesus Christ as your Saviour?
Please click here to learn how you can connect with Christ, know that your sins are forgiven and that you have a home in heaven.
The nativity story can be read in the first two chapters of the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke.