I wonder, had Mary carefully prepared everything at home in Nazareth for Jesus’ birth, before she learned that she had to make the long trek to Bethlehem?
Those best laid plans.
Mary obviously trusted God, but I wonder if she didn’t wonder at times just exactly what He was doing. She might have expected Him to save a special place for The World’s Savior in at least one of the Bethlehem Inns. God had saved a very special place indeed, but it wasn’t at all what Mary expected, what with all the ‘fresh’ air and the animals and shepherds milling around.
I wonder if there had been any rainy, dreary days along the journey to Bethlehem, like the one outside of the window today – just two days before Christmas. (How we all wish the snow hadn’t melted away and left us with this brown mud!)
The long-awaited Savior had to be born this way though, we all know that. So why are we surprised and disappointed when we also encounter suffering and sickness and foiled plans and dreary, rainy days along the way in Advent?
Mothers protect, nurture and comfort their children. They love them and want them to be happy. I’m sure Mary did all that she could to make the best of the situation.
What’s more, I imagine she was typically Mary the night that Jesus was born and fully accepted the situation. How else could she have treasured it all up in her heart (Luke 2:19)?
And here is a shining jewel of a lesson, fit for the crown of a King, that I have glimpsed this Advent. A lesson from Mary: the road we walk with The Lord to Christmas (and to Calvary and to Eternal Life with God, for that matter) is not going to be what we expect and often not what we would like. We can decorate and bake and wrap, but that is not going to guarantee Happy Holidays. Cheerfulness is not part of the deal, no matter how much we want it or think we need it as we limp along through these last days of the year.
Why would God let us settle for good cheer when He can give us EVERLASTING JOY?!
Mary rejoiced the night that Jesus was born – I’m sure of it – even with the ‘fresh’ air and animals and shepherds invading her exhausted corner of the world. She rejoiced because she trusted that God loved her and was hidden in it all. She rejoiced because she accepted what came from His hand without question and with only one thought of what it meant for her personally – ‘THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD HAD BEEN BORN!’
And this surely was God’s grace at work in her – praise Him!
Lord, I praise you for Mary! Let me learn to be like her. Much more Lord, I praise you for Jesus who came into the world to save me!