Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Things Were Not As I Expected

(No journal of Mary's thoughts exists. But I would so love to know all that passed through her mind and heart as she awaited Jesus' arrival. I have recorded my own guess at her experience here. The retelling of Christ's birth and early life can be found in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2 )

Things were not exactly as I expected. From the moment that angel told me God’s plan and I accepted His will, shame and fear occupied my mind more often than not.
Immediately following the angels terrifying declaration, I felt the most euphoric blessing of God’s spirit fall on me. What a remarkable, unfathomable gift. I could not describe the experience to my pragmatic family or the traditional community around me. I silently experienced the promise unsure of my sanity every now and again.

I expected God to pave my way. Surely, if an angel had appeared to me, if I was chosen, then wouldn’t God tell everyone else too? And I hoped he would start with my Mother.

He didn’t.

He did not tell Abba or the Rabbis in our village. They knew the prophecies of our Messiah. But the reality of Him growing in Abba’s young daughter’s womb was more scandalous than could be tolerated in such a holy gift.

The angel did tell my betrothed. Praise Yahweh.

Joseph could have had me killed and many other men would have done just that to save their own name and honor. When Joseph took me into his home I was amazed.

He had a dream and the Lord told him too. And he believed the Lord.

I am so thankful for his obedience. Being taken into his home has not stopped the wagging tongues. But the pierce of their words was softened by the protectiveness of our marriage.
When I learned of our trip to Bethlehem I was at once relieved and afraid. I was eager to escape the doubting glances of my family…

But I was afraid that our baby would arrive in that far away village.

The trip was terribly long and miserable, only to reach Bethlehem and have no place to stay. We ended up sleeping in a stable. The smell was putrid to my sensitive nose and the ground was very cold and hard underneath my heavy body.

When my pains began I became terribly afraid. I was going to deliver this child in this distant place with no mother or sister or aunt to hold my hand, coach my process and mop my brow. Joseph’s eyes darted side to side to avoid mine. He was very uncomfortable in the moment but could obviously think of no where else to be. Was he remembering your words to him in the dream? Wondering if he had heard correctly? Sorry he was here now?

The pain was excruciating.

God, was that really you all those months ago?!? Was Elizabeth speaking from you when she prophesied this child’s future? Did Joseph see an angel too?

Because if you are so very involved, why in the world does it hurt this much?!?

I thought I had died. My body was ripping apart.
Beyond my control, I felt my body pushing. Every single portion of my body hurt. One push. Two pushes. Exhaustion. More work.

And then when I thought I could take no more--- A cry. A wail. And the most amazing sweet relief of my life. Praise Jehovah. He was there.
Time seemed to stop. In that stable. On that cold floor. The only sounds were my heaving breaths, Joseph’s scurrying to care for us and Yeshua’s cries.

Joseph’s eyes were awash with amazement. He was drawn into those precious eyes and the miracle of the tiny hands and feet. I could not stop looking at each part of our miracle.

Lord have mercy, I was in love.

A son!!! Yeshua. Jesus.

He was crying. And I was crying. And Joseph was crying.

At once comprehending my complete lack of comprehension! Unfathomable greatness.

All of heaven seemed to sing. And yet only silence sounded around us. The three of us. Alone.
I held our boy drinking in his scent and hanging on each tiny breath. He slept and I stared. I was unable to look anywhere else. We were all exhausted. All amazed.

Our tiny trio was interrupted by the sound of scurrying men. Joseph went to see who was calling on this stable so late in the night. Maybe weary travelers, come to sleep on this ground with us.

Joseph led the scraggly crew into our scene. The men were shepherds. And they smelled of work and pasture and sheep. Their eyes held amazement and wonder and they knelt before Jesus and worshiped him. Angels had told them to come.

Of course.

Angels continued to proclaim Him.

But who would have ever imagined to whom they would proclaim.

A poor carpenter, shamed by the expanding middle of his betrothed. A barren elderly couple. Shepherds.


Who am I?!?!

Will I ever completely understand?

All I know is that I am in love. With my Yeshua. He has my heart and, in ponderings and piercings, I will never have it back.