I was most intimidated to write this narrative. Everyone knows Mary, or at least they think they do so there are formulated views on what she went through. We may never know this side of heaven, but as a mother myself to a little one, I tried to put myself in her ancient shoes and remember that she was just like any other woman about to give birth.
Would it hurt? Perhaps as the holy Son of God, it wouldn’t hurt as badly as mother had said. I squeeze Joseph’s hand as another stab of pain ripples through my body. No, it seemed even the Perfect One wished to enter this world with just as much struggle as all other children since Eve’s time.
But this was no ordinary child. The angel had declared him the Son of the Highest, the One to inherit the throne of David. A king. Whoever heard of a king being born on dirty straw with an audience of lowing cows and dozing goats? How am I to care for a king?
It will be all right, Joseph assures me. God is with us.
Another stitch of pain and I cling to his hand. Dear, strong, loyal Joseph. What a blessing Yahweh has given me in him. And what a good father he will be though I know he doubts himself. Have I not had the same doubts? But the angel commanded me to put aside my fears for the Lord has found favor with me, trusting me to bring this precious Life into the world. It is through my God that the task before us is not impossible.
Tears prick my eyes. The minutes tick down, closer and closer as the urgency of the babe becomes nearly unbearable. With one final push, he slips free and into Joseph’s waiting hands with a gusty wail. I fall back against the pile of hay stacked behind me, exhausted from the effort. With a smile as broad as any proud father, Joseph gently lays the red, wrinkled bundle in my arms. I quickly wrap him in the strips of cloth I had prepared and tuck him close to my breast for warmth. His tiny face turns towards me, blue-gray eyes squinting up at me. My heart lurches.
“Hello, sweet baby boy. I’ve waited a long time to meet you. I’m your mama.”
His little mouth puckers and opens. And emits the loudest cry my ears have ever heard. I offer Him my little finger which He eagerly clamps on with happy coos. Love swells my heart as my son snuggles closer. Tears flood my eyes as I lean down to kiss his soft head.
“Do You know how much joy You bring, little one? How long I have waited to see Your beautiful face, how long your people have prayed for You to come?” Tears run down my cheeks and plop onto His swaddling. “Our songs of deliverance have finally been answered on this most holy night.”
I press another kiss to His cheek, then another. How unworthy I am to hold this precious bundle, but oh, how blessed to be the first one to touch Him, to hold His tiny hand, to feel His sweet breath on my cheek. Four hundred years of silence have finally been broken by a baby’s cry. Our Deliverer. But how would it end? Now that He is finally here, how would He bring salvation to His people?
Joseph kneels in front of me, eyes soft as he stares at the sleeping bundle in my arms. “What do you think of our son?”
He runs a finger, so gentle a touch for a carpenter, over the babe’s ear. Tears gather in the corner of his eyes. “Perfect.”
Perfect, indeed. Perfect hands, perfect toes, perfect nose. I smile. All mothers think such things, but never was there such a baby as this one. Never was there such a gift from the Lord above. How many others would feel the joy He brought? Would their hearts beat as mine does? Would they look upon His face and have the air stolen from their bodies? Would their souls burn brightly with hope as mine does this night? Would they feel God’s love wash over them in His presence?
“They should, my Immanuel, for You bring God here with us. At long last, Your people are complete.”