Being an aunt is one of my most favorite roles in life (besides wife and mom, of course!) This Christmas I am thrilled to take on that role once again. My sister just gave birth to a precious baby girl. Being with Erica through her labor has really got me thinking about what it must have been like for Mary on Christmas Eve so many years ago.
I’ve always imagined the donkey ride to Bethlehem must have been very difficult since “the time had come for her to give birth.” But now I find myself considering: was it the less-than-luxurious road trip that induced the labor? I wonder how anxious poor Joseph must have felt as the contractions grew stronger and the possibilities of a vacant Inn grew fewer. Being on the “other side of labor isn’t easy either; it’s hard to watch someone you love suffer and there is nothing you can do about it except encourage them to breathe! I imagine Mary trying to remember her breathing while Joseph was pulling the stubborn donkey to the next Inn, pounding on the door. What a way to begin parenthood.
I wonder how Mary dealt with her nesting instincts the weeks before that night? No beautiful nursery was set up for her baby-just a saddle on a boney donkey and a hope for a cozy room in a resort when they arrived.
Maybe you know that I have given Mary an image assessment. I think her Img.ID was a Classic (Click here to learn why I think that.), which is the proper beauty who tends to be very detailed about everything she does. Here’s the thing: if a Classic’s planning doesn’t line up for her, she often has a tendency to stop all progress in frustration.
Mary’s plans weren’t really lining up, but she could not halt the progression of labor. As chaotic as her world felt, she had to hold onto the promises she had tucked away in her heart and trust that God would work out all the details for her.
And He did. He set aside a dirty stall in the busy town to grant her a bit of privacy as she brought forth the King of Kings amongst the animals and laid Him in the feeding troth. It wasn’t a new mom’s dream delivery. I can’t help but wonder if Mary or Joseph began to doubt what God was doing. I wonder if they questioned their dreams and what God had told them would happen. I think I would have doubted myself. Maybe I made this all up, if this is what God wanted, surely He would have organized this better and things would have gone far smoother and I would be giving birth to His son in a king-sized bed!
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13,14
Imagine the celebration that exploded in the sky as Jesus arrived! Surely, if there had been any doubt during labor, it was all dissolved with the sound of the first angel.
If you are struggling with some kind of chaos or confusion today, I hope Mary’s story gives you the confidence to stay strong. Sometimes it’s hard to understand what God is doing, but in the end you will find that His ways are far above our ways and His idea of a King-sized bed is simply different than ours is. Hold on to the promises you were given, push through the pain, and watch for what God will do.
Catrina Welch is an image- and life-coach whose message is not as much “what not to wear” as it is, “Know Who You Are,” which is the title of her book of guidelines for your personal image identity. Catrina has also written a Bible study to help women overcome their confidence conflicts; it is titled Supreme MakeOver: a Rich and Refreshing Devotional Experience. Her other books include Footprints Through the Sand: a Consolidation of Life-altering stories about Loving and Losing a Trisomy-18 Baby and Confident Beauty: Reflecting the One Who Made You with the Images in Your Mirror and Your Soul, which will be available in book stores this spring. All of these books are available now at www.CatrinaWelch.com
If you are interested in having Catrina come speak to your friends, colleagues or ministry you can contact her on facebook or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.