I cannot imagine the year Mary experienced.
Pregnant without a seed of man – unheard of… blasphemous! Although Mary was told in advance about the miraculous birth, her world had been turned upside down by the angelic messenger of God. “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man” “And the angel answered and said to her the Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; …that Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1: 31, 34 &35) Although honored, surely she felt the embarrassment of being seen as unchaste by her family and close friends. And her young teenage heart must have felt the weight of apprehension in the eyes of Joseph, her betrothed. Yet, Mary did not doubt the words of the angel. Oh my…such faith.
And I imagine Joseph was hurt, confused… and yes, maybe even ashamed.
Although Joseph was an honorable man, he must have wondered if Mary had been with another man. And at the very least, Joseph may have felt disappointed by the pregnant condition of his betrothed. They had chosen one another and ceremonially washed to signify they were entering into their time of betrothal in purity. Both had agreed to give themselves exclusively to one another. Such hope for the future in both their hearts. What had happened? Joseph loved her. He could not bear to expose Mary to public disgrace. Yet, the future now seemed filled with sorrow. Nothing made sense. It would take another angelic messenger to speak truth before Joseph was unafraid to take Mary as his wife. “Joseph….what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you will give him the name Jesus, because He will save His people.”
Wow, I am so curious. Aren’t you?
Did Mary experience His presence….the presence of Jesus, the Son of God from conception? Others knew His presence even before He was born. After learning the sign, Mary hurried to see her cousin Elizabeth. And Elizabeth’s unborn son leaped in her womb for joy at the mere sound of Mary’s voice. Then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And her words confirmed what Mary had joyously come to share with her cousin. Yes, I believe Mary knew the moment she conceived and enjoyed His presence fully from the very beginning.
Imagine….. Ponder with me if you will…. Mary literally pregnant with HOPE!
Mary carried a baby sent to save the world. The long anticipated Messiah. Her womb, filled with His very presence. A place created for life. His heartbeat echoed in the deep still secret places of her being. His movements within touched her very soul. And I imagine He comforted her in the midst of her shame. Immanuel – God with us. He gave her hope.
Imagine giving birth to this child…the Son of God….the Savior.
Joseph and Mary found themselves far from home at the time of delivery and in a place of promise. Even so, they must have felt a deep isolation and great anticipation about this special child from God. Deep in the night her child was born. And Mary’s confident faith and Joseph’s loving support was blessed that night. The greatest celebration any family on earth has experienced upon the arrival of their newborn took place. Angels sang of the glory of God. A Glory Mary, of all women, was entrusted to carry within her body. Shepherds spoke and the world marveled at the Hope she had birthed, swaddled and gently tucked in a manger. Wise men sought Him and found in Him the peace for which they had searched a lifetime. The very same Peace Mary had known for months. So many emotions aroused that night.
And I wonder…. did she feel the void at His birth?
“And Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She kept Him in her heart. Mary knew the truths of Jesus Christ were worth being kept. Mary filled the void then and later by keeping Him, His truth in the deep still places of her heart. He continued to fill her being with His presence and His hope. And it is in this same stillness and pondering that brings our hearts into His presence today.
And know….Jesus fills the voids in our hearts. He heals the holes.
He is our Hope: a living hope, a fresh hope. Jesus is the One that heals the broken hearted, gives liberty to those who are bound and comforts all who mourn. He alone can transform the ashes of our lives into beauty.
Blessed hope and redemption was found in the eyes of a baby. Heaven came down to earth! I invite you with great anticipation to ponder the hope He offers to you this Christmas season.
Robyn Whitaker lives in Texas with her beloved husband of 32 years. She has an adventurous heart that is learning to breathe. Lover of truth, seeker of story, aspiring author and newborn dreamer, this mother of three is in search of redemption and living her Kingdom purpose.