For at least half of the Christmas seasons I have spent as married woman, I’ve been newly pregnant or fresh-grieving the loss of a babe.
I identify with Mary very closely. I keep thinking of her physical feelings, her emotions at being an (unmarried) first time mother. (By the way – how do you think that conversation with the parents went?) Closing my eyes and thinking of her in labor. In a cave/stable/animal dwelling. The smell, the temperature, the dust, the pain. Cleaning, or trying to clean him. Nursing him for the first time. How sweet that moment is. Or scary, or frustrating, or overwhelming. Unwashed teenage boys traipsing in to see her wee man. Was she scared? Happy? Layer that with the knowledge of who her infant son actually was …
Chris Tomlin sings a version of Joy to the World that includes the phrase “unspeakable joy.” I’ve had that in my life a few times. When my husband proposed (Literally the first time in my life I was speechless), when I saw my daughter after a year long deployment with the Army National Guard. Maybe that’s how Mary felt?
I just love knowing that Jesus had a mommy who did mommy things like nursing, and wiping bottoms, and soothing tears, and swaying to calm Him, and loving His smiles – all the while knowing He was never really hers. Can you imagine….
Which leads to sacrifice. The knowing and willing sacrifice of our Heavenly Father. The unknowing, but obedient sacrifice of Joseph, and of His mother, of Mary. I think about my heaven-bound babes, and I grieve at the unexpected loss of lives not yet lived. I think of my living, breathing children and how I would move heaven and earth to protect my sweet babes. I cannot fathom the depths of love and grace poured out on me by a Father who would offer up His own Son to save me. But oh I am grateful. Breathing in deep my sweet sons’ smell and kissing their sweet faces and knowing two thousand years ago His mommy did the same in the knowledge that her Babe was unlike any other.
My dear friends, I pray you find unspeakable joy in this season, in this gift of a Babe.