This week is Christmas! Who can focus on anything just days before Christmas? Last minute gifts need to be bought, food needs to be prepared, things need to be wrapped!
But, before we run off into crazy Christmas land, let’s try and focus on the most important part of Christmas…the Messiah.
Part One (If you have not read it, click here) of this post I covered the pre-history of Jesus’ birth, and now I want to focus on Mary. And to help us do that, I will be working off a favorite song of mine, one that gives us an idea of Mary’s mindset during post-birth of Jesus.
But, before we get to the birth, we first need to get to Bethlehem. Luke 2 starts out talking of a tax or a census that was taking place.
And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
This was not a merely a one-time census; the decree actually established a cycle of enrollments that were to occur every 14 years.
And the order was that everyone had to be registered in the land of their birth or tribal origin. So, if you had moved from your tribal land, people then had to travel back to their homeland.
Both Joseph and Mary were descendants of David and therefore went to their tribal home in Judea to be registered.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child
So, this was not coincidental that everyone had to return to their homeland, it was all planned out by God and prophesized by Micah that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,
Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting.”
The trek to Bethlehem was difficult; Mary was near her time of giving birth, their main mode of transportation was probably a donkey, and they had to travel more than 70 miles through mountainous terrain.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, they were tired, and Mary was close to delivery. But there were no room in any of the inns because everyone and their brother was also in Bethlehem for the census.
So, the Savior of the world has born in a stable.
6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Mary just went through childbirth in a stable. Childbirth, in a stable filled with animals and hay. Let that sink in…childbirth is difficult enough in today’s modern age of medicine, Mary just gave birth in a cold stable. And she didn’t just give birth to a baby boy, she gave birth to the Savior of the world. Jesus. The Immanuel. The Son of God.
What do you think was going through Mary’s mind? We learn much later on in verse 19 that Mary was not vocal about her opinions or feelings.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Which is why I love Francesca Battistelli’s song ‘You’re Here.’ It gives us an idea of what Mary was going though…
I don’t know what to say when I look in Your eyes
You made the world before I was born
And here I am holding You in my arms tonight
Jesus our Emmanuel
I’m staring into the face of my Savior
King and Creator
You could of left us on our own
But You’re here
I don’t know how long I’m going to have you for
But I’ll be watching when you change the world
Look at your hands, they’re still so small
Someday you’re going
To stretch them out and save us all
Mary was holding her Savior, the One who would perform miracles, make the lame beggars walk and the blind man see. The One would raise a man from the dead and save the world from their sins.
Did Mary know this at the time of Jesus’ birth? We don’t know, but we do know, that while she held her Savior of the world, His birth was about to be announced to shepherds.
In ancient times when Rome would celebrate a military victory, a new peace treaty, or the birth of new emperor, they would send out messengers announcing the good news to everyone they met.
So, it should amaze us that it was not kings or leaders Christ’s birth was announced to, but shepherds.
Lowly shepherds, in a sleepy little village in the middle of a field in the dead of night, a group of shepherds were trying to stay warm while they watched their flocks of sheep.
8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
All of a sudden, a great light turned the night sky as bright as the morning.
Every looked at your phone at two in the morning? It’s like sun in your eyes. It’s blinding. So, here were shepherds, simply doing what they had done for years, when suddenly a host of angels appeared proclaiming the good news that a new king was born.
9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
I think we are seeing a pattern with angels suddenly appearing to someone and that someone is close to passing out from fear. But the angels tell them not to be afraid.
10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Upon hearing this news, they ran off to see this baby. They didn’t hesitate, or wait. Angels just appeared to them and told them that the Messiah has been born. The one they had been waiting for was now here.
15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.
After they met Jesus, they proceeded to go throughout the village telling everyone what they had heard.
They wanted to tell everyone that the long-awaited Messiah had been born, and that they saw Him.
17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Can you imagine being a shepherd that had just seen the Messiah? Jesus. They were not anywhere near a high-ranking official that was normally told of births of noblemen.
20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
And we come back to verse 19 again.
19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart
It was possible that Mary was slightly overwhelmed at the whole situation, she just gave birth to the Messiah, shepherds and others are coming to worship and see Jesus, and she will forever be known as the Mother of Jesus.
She probably took a quiet moment to take it all in…
Someday I’m going to look back on this
The night that God became my baby boy
Someday you’re going to go home again
But you’ll leave your spirit
And flood the world with joy
I’m staring into the face of my Savior
King and Creator
You could of left me on my own
But you’re here
Hallelujah, You’re here.