Christmas was not an easy time for Mary and Joseph. Just think about it. The trials and emotions that went on from the time Mary became pregnant until Jesus was born, was Mary’s and Joseph’s preparation for Christmas. Was Mary’s situation any different than that of an unwed mother today? Would Joseph support her? What would people think and say? Where could she go for an understanding ear? Once all that was worked out, there was the journey for the census, right at her due date. We are advised not to travel far from home as the pregnancy progresses. Mary was told she must travel. Can you imagine riding a donkey or walking long distances when you are nine months pregnant? In addition to all that there were no reservations at the inn at the end of the day. A new mother had to find a safe place for her precious baby. I would have been in tears at this point.
So now it's Christmas Eve and the Christ child is born. All is quiet and the new family are cozied up together in a barn making the best of a difficult situation. It’s not quite the same as sitting beside the fire roasting chestnuts in my living room. However, I think that just as I like to sit in front of my fireplace in the quiet of Christmas Eve after everyone else has gone to bed, and soak up the peace and quiet, and reflect on the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us, Mary looked at her little baby and rejoiced that Jesus, the Saviour of the world, the son of God was safely in her care. All tucked in and peaceful, her little baby was finally here, and as any new mother would do, she pondered in her heart what the future would hold for her child.
One of my favourite Christmas carols is “O Holy Night.” The chorus says it all for me. “A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices for yonder breaks a new glorious morn. Fall on your knees o hear the angels' voices. O night divine o night when Christ was born...”
And my music now plays on, and the chorus to “It’s About the Cross” plays “It's about the cross. It's about my sin. It's about how Jesus came to be born once so that we could be born again. It's about the stone that was rolled away so that you and I could have real life someday. It's about the cross.”
Now it is Christmas. The Christ child brings hope, joy, peace, and love. So whether you love the hustle and bustle, the parties, and the feasting, or prefer the quieter approach make sure you feel that thrill of hope, make sure you fall on your knees rejoicing for God is with us, and He came to save you and me.