How is it that so many folks try to praise me? ME! Who am I to be esteemed thus? Above all things, I am blessed of my Lord. But it was my Son that must be so honored, not I. Only He should be treated in this manner. I am but a mother who was so blessed to give birth to this Child. The angel told me....but I am walking ahead of myself. Is that not how it is said?
How do I know such as this? Because from where I live, I can see the people honoring me. But they must not! If I tell you my story, perhaps then you will see the need to honor the correct One. Will you promise not to interrupt until I am finished? Very well. I will begin.
I will introduce myself. My name is Mary, wife of Joseph, son of Jacob, of the tribe of Judah, sons of David, the King. A long time ago, (do not such stories begin thus?) when I was still living in my Father's home, I remember being told to go to bed and not fret because of my betrothal. Not that he thought that I needed to know this but Father did say that I would like Joseph, my soon-to-be husband. He was so kind to tell me that. It was not required, you know, that I like the person picked by my Father. My heart leaped for joy. Joseph was a very good man, full of honor, devoted to the Lord and so talented. He was a carpenter with a reputation for being a craftsman.
The night of my betrothal was so beautiful from my window. Sleeping was the farthest thing from my mind. My body would not stay still. Dancing around my room was the only thing I wanted to do at that moment. I was to be married! ME! I recall marveling at the thought. It was the custom then to marry at an early age, but at 13, I did not feel so young. People become grown up when they reach that year. My heart was celebrating even before the family celebrated!
Many months later, I was in my bedchamber when an incredible light shown into my room. Before I could walk to the window to see what it was, an enormous being stood in front of me. I trembled in fear of the awesome sight. He spoke to me saying not to be afraid. I was amazed at the peace that surrounded him. He called me highly favored of God, that the Lord is with me this night and that I am blessed of all women! But this troubled me more. Once again trembling, I sought to look into his eyes but the light was great. He said that he is an angel sent of God, not to be afraid of him for he brings great news. The next words were so incredible that I can hardly speak them now, after all these years. He told me that I was to have a Child of the Father, a Son of the Highest. His name was to be Jesus. The angel said that He would reign on the throne of King David and be King to the house of Jacob forever, that His kingdom would not end.
I, of course, worried since no man had ever known me, not even my betrothed, Joseph. As I mentioned this to the angel, he told me that the Holy Spirit would come upon me and the power of the Highest would shadow over me. For that reason the Child I bore would be the Holy One, Son of God. Then, if that were not marvel enough, he told me that my cousin, Elizabeth, who was barren those many years beyond all possible child bearing, was to be a mother herself. At that time, she was going to have a child in three months. Finally, the angel said that I should not marvel at such things for with God, nothing is impossible. I could no longer hold my tongue. My last words to him were that I, the maidservant of the Lord (for what else could I be? He is the One that we honor above all.) "Let it be according to your word!" I shouted to him. Then, he was gone. There was much to think about now. I could no longer sleep. That night, what the angel had told me came to pass.
The next day, I told my betrothed that I must journey into the hill country to see my cousin who was with child. Within a couple of days, I was able to be with her and her husband. Elizabeth and Zacharias are so very devoted to the Lord, it is no wonder that she was favored of Him. When I entered their home, Elizabeth cried out with joy as her child leaped inside her. She was filled with the Holy Spirit and began to praise me as being honored above all women! The Lord was truly with us both that day. I remained with her until the birth of her child, John, helping as I could. During that time of my visit, it was so strange that her husband, Zacharias, was not able to speak. I learned later that his tongue was loosed after the circumcising of his son.
After coming back from my visit, it was growing apparent that I was with Child. Trembling at the thought of telling Joseph, for what man would believe that I was still a virgin, I let him know of this thing. He mumbled that he would think on it but that he would put me away secretly to keep my honor as much as was possible. However, in a dream that night, an angel (the same angel had visited me) told him that I was blessed and carrying the Child of the Most High God. Joseph agreed to marry me in the proper time, which he did. What an honorable man he is!
In those days, the law came from Caesar Augustus that all people needed to be counted. As was our custom, we were to travel to the city of Bethlehem, the city of David because we are both of the house of David. It could not have come at a worse time for me. The Child was soon due to be born and I knew that the travel would be hard on us both. Joseph feared that the Child would come before we reached the city but we arrived safely at night but worn out. Unfortunately, because of the counting and the crowds already housed, there was no room at the inn. The innkeeper, who was very nice, told us that we could go to the stable. He was so apologetic for he was told of my condition. I know that if he could, there would have been a place in the house. I prayed that he not feel badly about this.
That night, a wonderous thing occurred. My Child was born to my husband and me. I wrapped Him as best I could in birthing cloth and put Him in the only place available, a manger. There was such a glow of Love surrounding Him! I could not take my eyes from His face. I wanted to hold Him forever, never putting Him down. My Child! God's Son! I sat back marveling at this. Many things I pondered in my heart. One day, I must tell this Child the story. Would He believe me? Could I give the love this Son needs? I, only a servant of the Most High, am the mother of the Son of God. It was still too much to take in.
Joseph had been watching the door because of all the strangers in the town this night. He whispered that men were approaching, running to the stable. They said that they were shepherds who had seen an angel. Fear had come upon them but the angel told them not to be afraid. They were told of a glorious birth of the Son of God Who was in the city of David in a manger. So they followed a star the angel had shown them. The star led them to this place. "Could we be honored to see the Babe?" they asked. Joseph showed them in to see our Son, God's Son. The Love of God radiated out to the shepherds who immediately fell to their knees and praised the Lord God.
Perhaps you do not believe my story though I am told it is now widely known. For many years, I meditated in my heart of these things. I recall holding Jesus, feeling the love I had for Him, feeling the incredible Love pouring from Him even as a Babe just born. I looked into His eyes and saw peace, everlasting peace beyond anything I had ever known in my life. Both Joseph and I wondered how we would care for such a One as this. Would He know all things? Do we teach Him of His Father or must we say nothing until the time He was a man? It would not be easy raising a Child like Him. None other had done so before. There was no one to get advice from but the Father of the Child. So many things are in my heart still of that time. I should tell you that there is much more to this story but perhaps I have kept you long enough now. Another time, I will recount the many wonders that happened. But for now, it is enough that you have heard this. God bless you as He has me.