The baby kicked and moved. He was too big for his Mama. He needed to be born. She needed to hold him in her arms after all the time he lived under her heart.
Our friends just had a baby boy today, they are so excited, scared, nervous and will be surrounded by friends, family and strangers offering 'free advice' and gifts. It is a joyful time for them. For everyone who is happy for them.
I started thinking about Mary and her journey to the stable. So different for her and Joseph. Their baby, their baby, was going to come soon. They had no home, no welcoming friends, no one to celebrate this birth with them...or did they?
Far away Elizabeth and Zechariah were holding their son and praying for his cousin. They knew there was something very special about both their babies.
That most special baby boy was born in the most humble of place, and yet I believe that the Shepherd of our souls chose that place. He chose to be surrounded by His Father's creation, to be shone upon by the star, attended by those who knew life and death so intimately in the fields and to be sought, sought out, by the rich, the wise and the holy.
Fresh cold air, warm sweet grass hay, the hot blowing breath of cattle, donkeys and sheep. Warm bodies keeping them warm. A new born life in a place built for new born life. No palace for this King, not yet.
Mary had so much to cherish in her heart. All mothers know this feeling. We hold that baby for the first time, look into their eyes and see eternity. And Mary saw so much more. Those tiny hands, those bottomless brown eyes, that newborn toothless smile broke through her exhaustion, and she leaned back after her labour and soaked in the love. I'm sure the love shone down upon them as God celebrated this first step in realizing our ultimate salvation.
New Mama's hold their babies tight, arms finally holding their heart's desire, and new Daddy's hold baby so gently. Fearing they could break, cry, poop, puke or pee. Fearing they would do something wrong in those first moments. Each one tired from the shared labour of love and each one basking in the angelic starlight.
My friends have a new born son, and this close to Christmas I cannot help but remember Mary. Not as you might expect though, as a new Mama holding the wonder of the world in her hands. I remember that feeling over six years ago. I can imagine her tired smile, her aching body and yearning to hold him and never let him go.
What wonder God has wrought that this baby, Jesus, would be the One who ached for us, bled for us, held us and as promised to never let us go. Thank you Lord for the miracle of Christmas, for this new born son!
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.