Happy Birthday, Jesus!
For many of us, the nativity story is so ingrained in our minds that we review and reflect on the same aspects every year: Jesus in a manger, animals were around, angels appeared, shepherds and wise men came with gifts and worship. We all know Mary is the mother of Jesus, but we often don’t stop to think about her with a real-life momma frame of mind. How was pregnancy for her? What were the first days as a new mom (to the Son of God) like for her? The Bible gives us plenty of clues that makes Mary’s story so relatable to our own. This Christmas, let’s not miss the real-life, down-to-earth side of what the birth of the Messiah was like for Momma Mary.This #Christmas, let’s not miss the real-life, down-to-earth side of what the birth of the Messiah was like for Momma Mary. #reallifemomma Click To Tweet
Momma Mary: Pregnancy
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”
38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.”
Dear Mary. Wonderfully blessed Mary. Virgin Mary. Can you imagine the thoughts and emotions that raced through her mind when an angel came to tell her she was going to give birth to a baby boy? The Bible tells us that she responded humbly, faithfully, and graciously: “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) But we don’t know the full story of what was going on in her head.
How would you be feeling and thinking after this life changing announcement brought to you by an angel of God?
“What. Just. Happened?!?!?!?!”
“Why would God chose me?”
“I’m not ready to be a mom! I want to enjoy just being a wife for a few months!”
“What will all of my friends and family think of me?”
“Will my fiance believe that I wasn’t unfaithful?”
“I don’t want this. I know it’s supposed to be a blessing but I don’t want it. It’s not what I want for my life.”
Dear Mary. Wonderfully Blessed Mary. Whatever plans she had for her life went out the window that day. She was going to be the momma of the Savior of the world. And it wasn’t going to be smooth sailing.
I encourage you to pull out your Bible and read Matthew 1:18-25. Here are the two key verses we are going to focus on:
Matthew 1: 18-19
“ 18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.”
Joseph was a good man. He followed the law and had the right to kick Mary to the curb for being unfaithful. But he didn’t want to ruin her.
How did the conversation between Mary and Joseph go down when he found out she was pregnant? Did she tell him, “this isn’t what you think” and he didn’t believe her? Did they argue? Did she cry? Did he cry? However the conversation happened, we know Joseph had decided to leave her. He didn’t want to ruin her reputation and social standing, but he wasn’t going to stick around after she got pregnant with a baby that obviously wasn’t his. It took an angel of the Lord in a dream to convince him that he didn’t need to worry about taking her as his wife and that the child was from the Holy Spirit. I’m so glad that Joseph was a part of God’s plan and that Mary didn’t have to be a single mom to the Savior of the Universe!
Momma Mary: Labor And Delivery
“1 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
Have you ever wondered why doctors and midwives tell you not to travel late in pregnancy? It’s because you don’t want to be far from home and have a baby. Plus, you are already SO uncomfortable. Riding in a car or airplane is bad enough for us today. Can you imagine travelling on a donkey or walking an incredibly long distance with that unmistakable 9-months-preggo waddle? They didn’t have supportive shoes back then either. She had to be SO uncomfortable. Mary was required to travel for the census, so she didn’t really have a choice. And this wasn’t a nice, easy trip. It was so crowded that there were no guest rooms for them when they got there.
UGGGHHHH. As a super pregnant and exhausted momma, I would have been incredibly grumpy. Maybe crying. Maybe stalking anyone who had food within eyesight. We can only imagine her journey up to this point but the scriptures give us no reason to think she had a pregnancy any different than ours. We can certainly relate based on how we would have dealt with the situation!
There is some debate on whether Momma Mary gave birth to Jesus in the traditional “barn” setting that the nativity scenes portray. Some historical research says that Mary likely gave birth in a house but in the section meant for animals. During this time, it was common to keep animals indoors for safety. Either way – barn or house with animals, who knows what this meant for her privacy during childbirth. Could the entire household and surrounding neighbors hear the sounds of a woman in labor? It was certainly no luxurious birthing center with aromatherapy and classical music. It probably smelled like sheep and she pushed to the sound of baa-ing.Jesus wasn't born in a luxurious birthing center with aromatherapy & classical music. It smelled like sheep & Mary pushed to the sound of baa-ing. #reallifemomma #devotional Click To Tweet
Mary traveled while super pregnant and was far away from home when she gave birth to her baby Jesus. She a laid the Savior of the world in a manger (safe sleeping space – go Mary!) and then quickly had visitors.
Momma Mary: First Week Postpartum
Her visitors were not of the parents, in-laws and cousins variety. They were complete strangers.
Luke 2:8-14 tells us that angels appeared to shepherds and told them about Jesus’ birth. Then Luke 2:15-18 says:
“15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”
Matthew 2:1-10 tells us that wise men traveled from the east came to find Jesus. They were so fervent in their searching, it got the King’s attention. Then Matthew 2:11 says:
“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
The account of Jesus’ birth in Luke lets us know that all of this happen BEFORE Jesus was eight days old (Luke 2:21). Remember what that first week was like as a first time mom? You were sore. You were trying to figure out breastfeeding. (Fun Fact: The painting at the top of this devotional is Leonardo DaVinci’s depiction of Mary nursing Jesus!) You were, for the first time in your life, truly sleep deprived. You were hungry and hormonal and had no clue what you were doing. Close friends and family visiting when you are a brand new mom is hard enough. And Mary had strangers visiting not her, but her baby. What would go through your mind as complete strangers worshiped and lavished gifts on your first born?
I know my sinful, selfish heart would have been saying, “heeeelllloooo! I just went through a pretty agonizing labor and delivery over here. How about rubbing my feet and giving me some credit, eh”? Of course, she knew she had just delivered God’s Son, the Messiah, our Savior.
Luke 2:19 “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
The Message Translation puts it this way:
“Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself.”
The Bible gives us no reason to believe that Momma Mary’s pregnancy, her labor and delivery, or her post-partum self was anything out of the ordinary. She likely went through the exact same fears, frustrations (why can’t I put on my own shoes!?!?!?!), and joys that we all do.
But there are two things that were different.
- Conception – she was a virgin and was given a child by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18).
- The Baby – Her child is God’s only Son, the King of Kings, the Savior of the World, the Prince of Peace. (Luke 1:32)
Thank you, God, that the mother of Jesus is so relatable. And praise you, God, that the child she brought into the world by your grace, was a game changer and a life bringer.Praise God that the baby Mary brought into the world was a game changer and a life bringer. #truemeaningofchristmas Click To Tweet
If you enjoyed this devotional, check out Messy Tired Love’s “How To Create the Perfect Christ-Centered Christmas” devotional!