When a new baby makes an arrival into this world, there is almost always great joy and rejoicing to go around. Gifts arrive. Family members come to take a peek at the new little bundle of joy.
What must it have been like for Mary and Joseph so many years ago when the Son of God made His way into the world? In the stench of a stable, without even a proper bed to lay on, the new bride summoned her strength for the ordeal of birth, alone with her husband. There is no reference made to any other human being on hand to help.
Knowing in her heart that she had never been with a man, and that the child was conceived in a miraculous way through an announcement by and angel and a visitation by the Holy Spirit, she also knew that there were precious few that believed her. Even Joseph, who was her fiancé at the time, doubted her chastity and was going to quietly break the engagement and put her far away from him. Had it not been for the angel of the Lord speaking to him in a dream about Mary’s virtue, and the significance of the child, Joseph would have abandoned her. She would have become an outcast in society and a humiliation to her family.
Not only did the situation stir up rumors about her, but also about Joseph, that he had dishonored her and not waited until after they were married to become intimate with her. His reputation in their community was just as suspect as hers. Their faith in God’s individual messages to them was the source of strength that kept them going.
They had to feel very much alone, even questioning what they had heard from the heavenly messengers who had spoken to them. Would God truly allow His divine son to have no better bed than an animal’s feeding trough in a barn?
Instead of fanfare, celebration, smiling faces, women cooing, and men slapping each other on the bag in congratulations, they had the breathing of the animals, the sounds of chewing, and other barn noises in the silence of the night.
God knew their humanness. He knew their need. When they were invaded by a group of shepherds looking for a baby in a manger, can you imagine their surprise? No one even knew where they were or that the baby had been born in a barn. God knew they needed encouragement and validation. What better way than to send angels to speak to a group of shepherds on a hillside who would not have had a clue about anything going on in town and send them to find the baby.
Mary and Joseph must have rejoiced in their hearts, realizing that truly God was in control and they were not alone. There was something holy and miraculous at work in this situation. How it must have humbled them when it began to sink in that God had entrusted the two of them with His Son. Whatever doubts they had about the future, they knew that God was with them. They also knew that they could trust in God to guide them.
There are speculations about how long it took for the wise men to arrive on the scene. Some scholars think it may have been months or years. In any case, they were also supernaturally led to the Christ child. Again Mary and Joseph had confirmation that Jesus was truly a holy child and that God’s plan for His life included them as parents.
In all of our rush to buy presents, prepare food, and get together with family, let us remember Mary and Joseph, who found in the most trying time of their young lives, that God was with them. He directed their paths and met their needs, just as He will do for us when we put our trust in Him.
Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at [email protected] or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.