Every year at Christmas, I ponder about the birth of Savior, but I also think about His mother, Mary. As a woman and a mother, I feel a bond with this woman. I think about her life and her experiences as the mother of the Messiah and relate them to my own experiences as the mother of three boys. This year I have three boys running around my house – a 5 year old, a 2 ½ year old, and an 8 month old and as I watch them play and enjoy the Christmas season, I think of Mary and her precious little boy.We don’t know a lot about Mary, aside from the accounts in Luke 1:26 – 35 as she receives the message from the angel Gabriel, announcing that she had been chosen to be the Mother of the Son of God.
Can you imagine what that must have been like? To have an angel of God appear to you and tell you that you were going to be the mother of the Son of God? Mary must have been an exceptional young woman to be ready and willing to accept this calling. But can you imagine what she had to deal with after this calling? She had to tell Joseph that she was pregnant. Would he trust her? Would he believe in what she had been called to do? What would her parents say? What would her friends say? Thankfully, Joseph also had a heavenly visitor, as recorded in Matthew 1:18 – 25
I can only imagine what this young couple went through in the intervening months. As Mary’s pregnancy became more and more obvious, you have to imagine that the rumors were flying. Had Mary cheated on Joseph? Had they “gone too far”? As they asked their family and friends to believe the inconceivable – that God had chosen Mary to bring forth the Messiah, you can imagine the skepticism. As members of the LDS faith, haven’t we all been asked to believe the seemingly impossible, of Heavenly messengers to Joseph Smith, only to have it confirmed by the Holy Ghost? Did their friends and family members have to pray and receive spiritual confirmation as well?
We know the continuation of the story in Luke 2:1 – 7. I often picture Mary, 9 months pregnant, riding on a donkey down a long and dusty road. I remember in my pregnancies that even in my own home or my car, there was no comfortable position to sit, and that I had to go to the bathroom what seemed like every 10 minutes. Now, picture having to ride on a bumpy road on the back of an animal for miles and miles in that kind of discomfort. I think of them arriving in Bethlehem, as part of a surging mass of people, desperately trying to find some shelter. I think of the contractions starting and Mary saying to Joseph, “My water broke,” then Joseph increasing his desperate search for a comfortable place to have this baby. And what was there? A stable, with the cows and the sheep and the goats and the chickens and their foul-smelling mess. Hundreds of diseases are transmitted through feces, and this is where the Son of Man was to be born? I imagine Mary’s contractions getting more and more intense as Joseph searched for a clean corner and some clean hay where she could lay down. Was there a midwife there, or did Joseph deliver the baby himself? How did they find clean water and blankets for swaddling clothes? Here was this young girl, her first pregnancy, and it was just her and Joseph – none of the comforts of home, and certainly none of the modern conveniences we have enjoyed while having a baby. She gave birth to the Son of God in the lowliest, dirtiest place on earth.
Jordan F. from A Bird’s Eye View expresses the birth of the Savior beautifully in his post.
There is very little writing in the scriptures about the childhood of Christ, and the following are two of my favorites: Luke 2:19 and 40
As I look at my little boys, as I kiss their sweet cheeks and play with them, I think about Mary and the precious time that Mary must have had during His growing up years. Was He a sweet baby? Did He sleep through the night? Did He have a lot of hair? Did He have a favorite blankie or a toy? I think about rolling around on the floor with my baby, kissing his belly and making him laugh, and imagining that Mary and Joseph must have done the same thing. I look at my 2 ½-year-old, and how he won’t take off his Spiderman pajamas, and all the cute things he says, his stubbornness, and how every day he is learning new things and figuring out the world. I imagine that it must have been the same with the boy Jesus. As a mortal being, Jesus had the full human experience, including the terrible twos. I am often saddened that there isn’t an account of His growing up years, but then a thought occurred to me: it wasn’t just God the Father that gave His son to us, Mary also gave her son to us. He is our Savior – we have his teachings, writings, revelations, and example to live by. She gave Him to all of us, but Mary got to have Him to herself as a baby and a child – that was God’s gift to her. To see that beautiful and perfect little boy every day, to love Him and caress Him, and kiss his little belly and know that His smiles were for her. Jesus was the Creator of the Heaven and Earth, the Mortal Messiah, the Savior of mankind, and to Him, she was Mommy. To care for him and teach him and help him to grow – those experiences were all Mary’s and Joseph’s alone and perhaps that is why what happened in those intervening years are not shared with the world. I love Mary and Joseph. I am so grateful that they were such good parents, and that they were willing to heed the calling of the Lord to raise the Savior of the World so that He could go forth in His ministry and to ultimately save all of mankind. I love the baby Jesus – that innocent, vulnerable little baby in the manger who grew up to be my Lord and Savior. I am so thankful for the Atonement, and for the chance to be forgiven of my sins. This Christmas, when I look at my baby boy, my 2 ½ year old, and my 5 year old, I think of the Babe in Bethlehem and am thankful for His mother.