Psalm 96 • Isaiah 9:2-7 • Titus 2:11-14 • Luke 2:1-20
In this passage, Mary and Joseph make their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census. Mary had been told by the Angel Gabriel months before that she was to bear a child who would be the son of God. She had responded without delay, “May it be as you have said.” And she had rejoiced at this news with her cousin Elizabeth.
But think of the very pregnant Mary now- entering the unfamiliar Bethlehem with Joseph, without any place to stay or any help to deliver her baby. This would be a childbirth in its most difficult, dangerous and painful form. There would be no doctor, no midwife, and no clean sheets. She would deliver the son of God with God’s help alone.
And she did it. We see nothing in the text of Luke’s Gospel to describe it, but we imagine a calm and steely resolve carrying her through the labor. We imagine God’s Peace.
And when it was over, after the Angels had proclaimed Jesus to the shepherds and the shepherds had visited Jesus, we read that “Mary treasured up all of these things and pondered them in her heart.”
As we treasure up our own blessings and ponder our own lives, let us think of Mary walking into Bethlehem on the true Christmas Eve, not knowing exactly what lay ahead but looking for the new birth of God, and relying on his strength to persevere.
Lord, we give you thanks this Christmas Eve, for the gift of new
birth in your son Jesus, and for faith and courage of Mary.
Robert C. ‘Clarke,’ Jr., Heidrick
Executive Chair, Board of Trustees
Seminary of the Southwest
Listen to Clarke read his meditation and prayer:
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