Mary looked down at the tightly wrapped little bundle in her arms. Overjoyed to be holding in her arms her new-born son, for a moment she forgot all about the pain of bringing him into the world. She, a young girl, was holding in her arms a baby boy, but not any baby boy. In her arms was a miracle. In her arms, oh awesome truth, was the very Son of God!
She recalled the day the angel had visited her and announced that the very Spirit of God would cause her to become pregnant, and that the baby born to her would be the Son of God. At first she had been afraid, then as the angel talked more with her she had yielded to the Lord in acceptance of his message and to comply with the will of God.
She had not been married at the time, and her husband to be, Joseph, had been shocked at the news. But he too was visited by an angel, and he too had accepted the fact that she was pregnant, not by any man but by the very Spirit of God. He had married her. They became husband and wife, and here they were together, miles and miles away from their home, and with a baby.
As she looked into the face of baby Jesus, for that was the name the angel said they should call him, she thought back over the nine months leading to his birth. They had seemed so long, and then as the birth day approached, instead of being with her loved ones they had had to travel miles and miles to Bethlehem in order to comply with national registration. There were days when she thought she could go no further, yet she had always received more strength.
At last they had arrived in Bethlehem, only to be disappointed as they found all the lodging places were full. The kindness of an innkeeper had given them this warm stable to rest in. There was no bed, only bundles of hay, but Joseph had made it comfortable for her and she had been able to rest from the journey. And then ............ the wonderful thing happened — a baby, God’s baby was born. She wished her mother had been there, but she had told her what to expect and what to do and everything had gone so well. Joseph had been so loving and kind, helping her every step of the way.
He was by her side now and she turned from the baby to look up into his face. Their eyes met, and he stooped to put a kiss on her forehead. “Bless you,” he said.
She laid the baby in the manger bed they had prepared as a cradle, then, tired but happy, Mary lay back on the warm straw bed. She closed her eyes and drifted in and out of consciousness. Suddenly she was aware that she was not dreaming any more, but there standing in front of her were men who looked very much like some shepherds they had seen on the hills as they approached Bethlehem.
They told Mary and Joseph they had been visited by an angel while they were out in the fields looking after their sheep. The angel had said he had a message of joy which was for all people. He told them that a baby had been born in Bethlehem; he was lying in a manger, and he was the Saviour, Christ the Lord. They had hurried down the hills to Bethlehem to find him.
Tenderly Mary lifted the baby Jesus from the manger bed so that they could see him better as they knelt to worship him. Then they left, saying they were going to tell everyone they met about the birth of this special baby.
As Mary cradled the baby in her arms, and Joseph put his arms around her in loving embrace, she wondered at what God was doing in their lives. He had entrusted them with His Son, to love and to cherish from babyhood to manhood. Their lives would never be the same again. The lives of the shepherds would never be the same again.
But Mary did not know the full wonder of what had taken place and that for countless ages to come lives would for ever be changed because the Son of God had been born in Bethlehem.
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