photo by my beloved.
Today is Christmas Eve.
A day of great joy, excitement and anticipation.
This year our life slowed enough to really cause us to stop and consider what tomorrow is really about.
The birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sure there is the hustle and bustle of preparation, the busyness of getting gifts together, the extra baking for visitors and the crafts to share with friends...but being here at my folks instead of home has allowed me to get more rest, to slow down, allowed for more time to reflect.
I did not grown up in a church setting which gave Mary much thought.
I do not currently attend a church that gives Mary, the mother of Jesus, much extra thought.
I, however, have Mary on my mind.
Mary the mother of Jesus.
"Blessed among women"
A virgin chosen by God.
The angel called her "Favored One".
See, she is pretty special.
Mary seemed to be a regular girl, going about her business, thinking about her future with the carpenter, Joseph, when an angel of the Lord appears to her.
Calling her the favored one.
Her life forever changed.
Mary decides to get away for a few months with Elizabeth.
There must have been some amazing conversations, prayers and ponderings during those 3 months.
I think about Mary on the road to Bethlehem.
She must have been tired and weary.
Heavy with child and not knowing when or where the birth of her first born would be.
Her child, the Christ child.
I ponder what the birth must have been like.
In a dirty barn, cold, dark, musty and smelly.
Childbirth alone is dirty, musty and riddled with pain.
The sterile, modern and even retro images of Mary do not show the mess of it all.
Just the glory.
Perhaps that is why the hard work of carrying a child and the pain of childbirth are not part of the story we read in Luke.
The story is really about glory.
About a babe, laying in the manager, ready to save the world.
The angels knew.
The magi knew.
and now the world knows.
Joy to the world.