…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
Today's Reading: Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)
Joseph and his pregnant fiancé Mary traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem for the census ordered by Caesar Augustus. When they reached Bethlehem, it was time for the baby to be born and since there was not a room available for them, Jesus was born in humble circumstances. Can you imagine? Being away from your home, family, and friends, and going into labor? Mary must have had some fear or concern about what was to come since this was her first child.
I know I was both scared and excited when I went into labor with our first baby. It was after midnight and we grabbed the hospital bag. The due date had already come and gone. As we were driving to the hospital, I kept thinking, This isn’t too bad. If this is what labor is like, I think I can handle it. All those stories about how much it hurts must have been exaggerated, or maybe I’m just tougher than other women.
Then, right as we pulled up to the hospital doors, it happened, a real contraction. Oh, oh dear, I’m in trouble, I don’t know if I can do this.
Panic and fear gripped my mind and body. How do I get out of this?
After about eight hours, I was ready to give up. Long story short, in about another eight hours our firstborn daughter arrived. When they put her in my arms, I couldn’t believe the overwhelming love. It was a combination of joy, protectiveness, and shock that God would give me such a gift to love and raise. I quickly reached out to my mom. “Mom, I had no idea I could love this tiny human so much and I had no idea that you could love me so much. Thank you.”
Many of you may have a similar story. Experiencing a fierce, overwhelming love may have taken you by surprise. It did me. And I think about Mary, how she must have felt, knowing she had been given the care of the Savior of the world. That leads to the question, “How does our Father feel about us, each one of His children?” To be so loved is a bit overwhelming. He loves us so much that He gave us this beautiful planet with animals and plants for beauty and food. He gave us the oceans, sunshine, and the sky. He gave us each other. God loves us so much He sent His Son to live here on earth and then die a painful death to cover our sins.
At this busy time of the year, we are inundated with the messages: “You don’t have enough. You’re not enough.” I challenge each of us to stop, take a breath, and accept the powerful love our Father has for us. He cherishes each one of us as His child. Even though we have flaws and may be a mess, He LOVES us. Today, let’s rest in our Father’s powerful, everlasting love.