Hay crunched beneath shifting feet of cattle who munched on their evening meal. Sheep dotted the stable’s dirt floor with colors of white and black. Their eyes darted about trying to understand exactly what was taking place.
A soft coo rose from the manger. I propped my chin on the side of the manger and peered down upon him, my precious baby. My eyes smiled as I watched his tiny hand stretch into the air to adjust his tiny body. Why me? Why, in all of the world, did God choose me, a simple girl of no well-known family name?
I scooped his fragile body into my arms, and his sleepy eyes tried to focus on me. “Hello, little one.” He snuggled into my breast. This whole plan still seems crazy. How can this sweet little baby save our people? He arched his back into a long stretch, and then his eyes tenderly closed as he relaxed and settled in to rest. My heart melted, and a smile etched into my face. I cannot believe You’re mine.
“How is he, Mary?” Joseph ushered the curious sheep aside, as he returned with a clay pot of water. “I thought you might need this.” My fiancé was kind and gentle, one chosen of God. He worked his way toward me and smiled as he sat down amongst the bunched hay beside me. He placed his hand on my shoulder. “Are you okay?”
I nervously smiled. “I’m fine.” This was all new to me, a mother, a wife. I had scarcely been in the presence of a man, other than my own father, and now, I was a mother and to be a wife. God had chosen me to be both, and I was still struggled to grasp it all. He handed me the vessel. “Here, drink some.” I drank from the clay pot and settled back on the hay, cuddling our son against me for warmth. My eyes scrolled over to Joseph. “I don’t think I’ll ever understand why God chose me.”
Joseph ran his fingers through my wavy brown hair. “I know why He chose you, Mary.” He smiled down at me. “Your humble, precious heart.”
I laid there, overwhelmed by all that God had done for me. I thought of how God would use this sweet baby to save us, our people, our nation, our world. I wondered if He would rise to be a powerful king with a royal crown atop his head. I wondered if he would become a mighty leader of our nation, returning them to their first love. I wondered if He would become a great prophet, speaking incredible messages from the Lord after all of those years of silence from God.
My eyes became heavy. Joseph snuggled the hay up around me and our precious Jesus. He leaned down and kissed my forehead; then he rubbed the back of his rough workman’s hand against our baby’s soft cheek. A smile slid across his teeth, and a tear welled on his eyelid. He dabbed it away, and leaned down to kiss Jesus’ cheek, and Jesus sleepily wiggled from the tickle of Joseph’s whiskers. My eyes gazed up at Joseph’s proud face, just before they slid shut.
My mind still continued to wander. I wondered what all our little Jesus would do. I wondered what all He would have to sacrifice to save us. My mind wandered farther and farther until I was lulled to sleep by the gentle whistle of Jesus’ soft breaths beside me.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
(As the mother of two boys, I have often wondered what it must have been like for Mary on that night that He was born. Did she understand all that was taking place? I have always loved this verse because I know what it is to dream big for your children and ponder about your children and those big dreams in your heart. This verse inspired this blog.)