Mary’s Christmas Had Loads of Disappointments

maryFeeling disappointed in your Christmas season? Lisa reminds us to consider Mary’s less than perfect time of birth.

“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

The birth of our Savior is a time of celebration because we know how the story ends, but consider for a moment the experience of Mary. For this young woman it was like reading from a list of worst case scenarios.

She wasn’t yet married to her husband. She was many months pregnant when Joseph says, “Guess what, honey, Caesar says we have to be counted for a census, so we’re off to Bethlehem. Um . . . I got you this donkey.”

After days of travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem (about 70 miles) Mary needs a bed. When I imagine how my husband would be running into hotel lobbies begging for a bed for me, and no one relenting, well. . . it wouldn’t be pretty.

Although the Christmas story portrays her giving birth in a barn of some sort, we aren’t certain about the facts. According to ourBible archaeology experts, it is likely that Jesus was born in the house of relatives, but outside, under the guest quarters. Not exactly comfortable.

There wasn’t a soft blue and pink striped cap for Jesus’ head, but He was swaddled and placed in a feeding trough when Mary needed to lay Him down. I am sure she was devastated that she wasn’t able to offer her baby something comfortable.

But the glory of Jesus overcame it all. It overcame the injustice, the fears, the pain, the misunderstandings. All of it.

God didn’t change the circumstances–He overcame them–just as Jesus has overcome the world! He doesn’t say He will overcome the world, but that He already has overcome it.

Jesus was born into these circumstances that He had already overcome–and He has already overcome the circumstances you find yourself in today.

Prayer: God, when life seems so less than ideal, so far from the life I imagined you had planned for me, help me remember that You intentionally placed Your own son’s birth in the least of ideal circumstances. You did this so that I could always know You understood and were present in my own situation. Amen.

About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives with rheumatoid arthritis. She wrote this sitting in a counseling office waiting room waiting for a family member and then within an hour went home and fell in her driveway. As she edits this devotional she is awaiting to hear if she can see a doctor about her toe that may be broken. Christmas season is a time when she wants it all to just fall in place, but it rarely does. Lisa is gradually learning that Christmas isn’t about stockings and stuffings, but about surrender and finding delight in the smallest of ways–just like Mary did when she delighted in Jesus, despite the less than ideal circumstances she imagined.

When you consider that Jesus was born into a less-than-ideal environment how does it give you hope that He is just as present in your less-than-you-had-hoped-for Christmas season now?

Curious about more historical beliefs on Christmas? See one of the sources where Lisa got her information here.

“Be Born In Me” is a beautiful song that describes a small part of what Mary may have been feeling. Francesca Battistelli sings this song and I hope it blesses you as you remember that every part of Jesus’ story has something to teach us. -Lisa