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And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn – Luke 2:7
I never thought much of Mary until I found myself belly full of child and calling myself a mother. Each year the deep timbre of my grandfather’s voice read aloud of the Christmas story, the verses in Luke a cadence and I thought of a star and a baby and a manger.
But it wasn’t until that first Christmas after I birthed a baby, sweat stained brow and blood from biting bottom lip that I remembered Mary. Of what it must have been like to wrap an arm around a bump that housed a Christ child and make the long journey, to labor in labor. On a donkey, y’all. To grip a hand on a bed of hay and deliver a Savior into the mud and the muck.
It’s such a beautiful juxtaposition, the promise of new life and salvation against the dirt-streaked backdrop because that is where we most need a Savior, isn’t it? In the mire. When there isn’t enough room for us in the Inn.
When the seats saved at the table don’t have your name on them, holding a plastic tray, lunchroom outcast.
When we find ourselves covered in the remnants of a mess of our own making. Or someone else’s making.
When we’re worn weary of this world, from the mourning or just the mornings.
The lowliest of beginnings to be born in the barn, dirt floors streaked with manure and life here sometimes feels the same as His start, messy and beautiful. Mary, she birthed both baby and promise. In the middle of a stable, light and life to all He brings.
I wonder if she knew how that would be an important part of the story, that he came low because we need Him the most at our lowest.
Our Christmas is full of light, strung on the trees and draping the mantel, twinkling against the twilight of each December evening. It is my voice that fills the room with the Christmas story now as my daughter nestles to my side.
I point to picture of a baby in a manger and try to articulate to a three year old that this is what hope looks like.
That because of this one miraculous night there is always light and life, even in the low. Especially in the low.
A promise so great that no wonder the angels were singing.