Mary Gives Birth in Bethlehem

 Even though Mary was a young and healthy woman, she was exhausted from walking the last ten days over a path of 80 miles to Bethlehem. She probably sat on a stone or leaned against the nearby wall while Joseph tried to find a place for them to stay. He returned to her saying there was no available rooms in any inn. Mary responded that they should accept the invitation to rest in a nearby stable. He knew that was not his preference, but it would be a place where the hay could be piled in such a way to resemble a bed for his pregnant wife.

He helped her walk across the cobblestone street until at the edge of town they found a crudely reconstructed entrance where several animals stood waiting for their arrival. While Joseph pulled the hay together to make a place as comfortable as possible, Mary spotted a feed trough that could function as a crib. Her contractions were increasing as she eased on to the bed that Joseph provided for her bed.

They could hear so many people hustling throughout the town. In actuality few people lived there but the overflow came as a result of the government’s demand that everyone return to the town of their heritage to be taxed. People were nearby but no one paid any attention to the miracle that was about to happen.

A cold sweat burst onto Mary’s forehead as she prepared to deliver the promise of the angel that she would give birth to the Savior. She had known no man yet became pregnant by the touch of the Holy Spirit. There was no hospital. No doctor or nurse. No midwife. Only Joseph knelt before the love of his life as he waited for the result of God’s promise. He had already gathered a bowl of water and long strips of cloth that were about 8 inches wide.

He spoke words of assurance as she struggled with the pain. Her water broke and they both knew that soon there would be a tiny infant delivered to their care. She panted. Her hands reached out to the straw to form a tight fist as she coped with the pain from her contractions.  When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, God told Eve that one result would be the delivery pain as every woman thereafter would bring forth a child into the world of humanity.

A baby’s head presented itself and then his full body stepped into history. Joseph held in his hands the charge that God made him to be the stepfather of Jesus. As Mary wept for joy, he cut the umbilical cord for Mary to see the newborn person that left heaven’s throne to hang on the cross for the sins of mankind. Joseph washed the baby and handed him to Mary so she could count the toes and fingers knowing that, as the angel said, she was blessed above all women.

Joseph rubbed salt over the skin of baby Jesus to assure that his flesh was healthy and then he wrapped the length of clothe around the child until only his face showed. He returned the infant to Mary’s arms so she could suckle her firstborn. Over the coming years she and Joseph would bring into the world several boys and girls that were added to the family. After the resurrection of Jesus, two of the boys would write entries into the newly developing manuscript that would be gathered together as the New Testament.

As Mary rested with Jesus in her arms, Joseph prepared a meager meal for the two of them. After several hours, shepherds came in obedience to the instruction of angels. There they found lying in a manger he who was to be the promised Messiah. They knelt to worship and then chatted with Mary and Joseph telling them how they would know where to find the son of David, Jesus Christ.

The spectacle became a holy place designated by God. As the shepherds came to worship, so could anyone else through the centuries who would accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and continue worshiping him. The shepherds laughed returning to the flock praising God and telling everyone who would listen of the miraculous experience they had.

This is how the first Christmas came to be. This is how we should concentrate on that holiday as a time of worship and show appreciation for the Heavenly Father who gave his only begotten son that whosoever would believe would have eternal life.

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