¿Habla español?

Great Joy for All

After giving birth myself, I began to read the story of Jesus' birth a little differently.  The narrative became more amazing as the Holy Spirit used my own experience to reveal truth about the humanity and divinity of Jesus and the purpose of his coming.  I certainly don't have it all figured out!  Just like childbirth, there are things you understand by studying, things you will only understand by doing, and things you will never really understand.  I had done my homework and had a pretty specific birth plan that included everything from what kind of pain management I wanted to the cute little outfit I would dress baby in for the drive home.  I was very fortunate to have most things go according to plan, though I still learned dozens of things for which you cannot really plan!

What shocked me most was the indignity of it all; every previously private part of my body was distorted, displayed and discussed.  Movies and television when I was growing up would depict a birth through the lens of the impatient and nervous father in the waiting room.  I understand that fathers were not invited into delivery rooms for many years, but I also expect that excluding the drama of childbirth from the screen had something to do with the indignity involved.  From the first measure of dilation to learning how to nurse my newborn, I had an audience of advisors and observers (and I am tremendously grateful for most).  Despite all the indignity, however, there was also awe and wonder, strength and sanctity as our new baby took her first breath and ate her first meal.

I wonder, did Mary have an experience like mine?  Did the women of the village gather around to coach her through the birth itself?  Or perhaps a trusted sister or girlfriend who also made the pilgrimage?  Did she have a holy visitation in those hours of labor and delivery?  Did Joseph stay by her side for this intimate experience even though the baby was not his?  Did she really give birth in a barn, or was that just where she had to take her newborn to shelter in the days following delivery?  So many details were left out of the story that we are forced to focus on those we do have.

One of the more detailed accounts is in the Gospel of Luke where he immediately follows laying Jesus in a manger with the first visitors, who happen to be some guys working the graveyard shift that Mary's heavenly in-laws round up (see Luke 2:8-16).  You read that right, the angels invited some shepherds to be the first witnesses to the birth of Jesus.  Babies typically bring lots of visitors in those early days.  As a new mom I had to face the indignity of having neglected some of the housework (and personal grooming if I'm honest) as I adjusted to parenthood even as guests dropped by to bring food and gifts.  And yet again, the indignity was coupled with joy and wonder as friends and family took such delight in seeing and holding our baby.  But why would God have Mary entertain shepherds she had never met in a place that was not her home?

"I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord."
Luke 2:10-11
Great joy for all the people.  That is the word from the angel--God's salvation plan is for everyone.  God could emphasize all people by telling the shepherds first.  These young men with no social standing and no vested interest immediately became the living testimony that Jesus, God with us, came to include everyone.  A chorus of angels chime in:
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests."
Luke 2:14

I can begin to understand more of God's purpose as I study the details included in the story of Jesus' birth each time it is read again this season.  I can catch a glimmer more understanding of the mystery of Jesus as fully human and fully divine when I recall the indignity and majesty of my own childbirth experience.  And I can still be in awe as I struggle to take hold of the understanding that he came for everyone--even me.  The shepherds did nothing to earn their place as witnesses or to become people "on whom his favor rests."  The same is true for each of us as we hear the heavenly whisper, "I bring you good news…"

No Comments



1 Kings 12 Days of Christmas 20 minutes 2020 Acts Adonai American way America Antelope Valley Apostle Paul Apostle's Creed Bibile Bible study Bible Birmingham Book of Acts But God COVID-19 COVID Calvary Charlies Angels Christian Voter Guide Christian home Christmas Church Colossians Communication Confessional Prayer Corinthians Dallas Willard David Devotional Doing Life Together Eastertide Easter Ecclesiastes Emmanuel Ephesians Epiphany Esther Father in Heaven Father's Day Father Galatians God With Us God first God is good God of peace God still Moved God's Will God\'s Will Good Friday Gospel of John Gospel of Luke Gospel of Mark Gospel of Matthew Happy Father's Day Hawaii Hebrews Holy Spirit Hosea How are you doing How to Pray I want that Instagram Isaiah 43 Isaiah James Brown James Jenna Bush Hagar Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah Jesus John 3:16 John Hughes John Wesley John Judy Garland King David Kingdom Come Kingdom of God Leadership Lectio Divina Light of the World Lord Love is Love your neighbor Luke MLK Malachi Mama Bear Mark Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Matthew Memorial Day Merry Christmas Micah 6:8 Micah Molly Ringwald Monday Night Manna Mother Hen Mothers Day Nancy Drew Nehemiah New Testament Old Testament Only God Knows Paul Pentecost Peter Philippians Prince Phillip Prince of Peace Proverbs 13 Proverbs Psalm 10 Psalm 139 Psalm 23 Psalm 40 Psalm 42 Psalm 46 Psalms of Joy Pursuing the Presence of God Queen Elizabeth Revelation Romans Ruth Haley Barton Savior Sermon Sheridan Voysey Son of God Son of Man Son Spider Man Sunday School Surprised by Joy TV Target Thanksgiving The Free Market The Lord's Prayer The Sound of Music Timothy Titanic Today Show Twelfth Night Veggietales Voter Guide Wizard of Oz Women in Leadership Women of Faith Women's Bible Study abide abstain accused act justly action adoration adventure advice advocate afraid allelon alone anchor anger answers anxiety app art ask attack authority awe awkward back to school balance baptism be kind be open be prepared be still and know beaten and condemned beauty and struggle beauty belief believe belonging betrayed by a kiss betrayed black friday blackbelt blameless bleeding woman blessed blessing blog body bond bookmark book boundaries breadsticks broken brotherhood burden butter called by God called by name called carbs care cause celebrate centered in Christ challenges change childbirth children choice choosejoy choose christian christ chronic illness church nerd alert church online citizen civil rights clean hearts cleaning comfort comment community compassion into action compassion compost confession of faith confession conflict resolution conflict confusion connection connect consumer culture contemplative prayer conversation with God conversation corruption court tv court creation creative juice creativity cross crucified and kind crucified crucify dad dating daughtership daughters death defense delight denied depression differently abled disabled discernment discipleship discipline discovery discrimination distracted divine divinity do good do the action donate doughnuts dreams dream early church eating disorder eden election emotional health emotions empathy encouragement endurance enjoy enough excess expectations failure faithfulness faith fall family dynamics family fun family of God family systems family fangirl fasting fast favorite scripture favorite things fear feel find and follow Jesus fine flexible forgiveness forgive free time freedom free friendship friends fruit funeral fun future gaining faith galaxy garden generations generosity genesis gift give it away give life giving goals god good news good shepherd gospels gospel government grace of God grace grass is always greener gratitude gravy great cloud of witnesses green bean casserole green thumb grief grieve grit groups growth ham hangover happiness harmony harsh truth head healing healthy habit heart sick heart help holding tight holidays holiday homeless homeostasis homeschool honor hope deferred hope how the Lord speaks how to read scripture how to talk about loss how to worship how to humanity human humility humor innocent inspiration intercessory prayer intimacy introvert invitation isolation join journal journey joy just believe justice kids kindness kind kingdom of heaven knock lament laughter learn lent let it be life together light listen live loneliness longing losing faith loss love in action love mercy love story love the Lord love loving like Jesus magi map marathon march marginalized marriage mashed potatoes meditation memorial memories mental health mentalhealthmonth messiah momlife mom motivated by joy mourn moved with compassion move mystery navigate need neighbors neighbor new beginning new normal new season new year newlywed news new nickname normal not alone not easy note to self nothing but joy nourishment now and not yet nowandnotyet nurse offering one body online overflowing with gratitude pain pandemic parenting parents pastor patience patient peacemaker peacemaking peace perseverance personal prayer perspectives perspective petition phillipians pity planted by water plan play something podcast politics potatoes practice of confession practicing gratitude pray for pastors pray without ceasing prayer request prayerwarrior prayer praying praywithoutceasing pray preach prepare presence of God present priortize prize promise of God promise prophetic psalms psalm purpose quarantine questioning God questions quiet race read reconciliation reconnect recovery reevaluate reflect regather regret rejoice relationships relationship remember repentance repost research resilience resources respect rest resurrection retreat rhythms riot road to the cross roles routine ruby slippers rules sabbath sacred sadness safe at home safe salvation scalloped potatoes schedule scripture about justice scriptures about fear scriptures about joy scriptures about peace scriptures about race scriptures scripture searching seasons season seek self-care self-denial self-differentiation serve serving share shelter at home shepherds signs silence simple pleasures single dad single mom single parent sing sinking sink slowly smile sober social distancing social media soil solitude sonship soul care soul music spiritual disciplines spiritual health spiritual practices spirit spring stars starting point star stayathome still good stop and look up storm storytelling streams of water strength stress struggleisreal study success sudden suffering of Christ suffering summer support surrender take heart talking with kids teacher tears technology template thank God the truth is out there the truth will set you free the way the truth and the life theology thessalonians think thisistheday time tithe to be honest together traditions transformed transition trauma treasure tree of life trials trust and obey trust in the Lord trust truth turkey understanding unfailing love unity universe vacation vice president virtual voices volunteer vote vulnerable waiting waking up walk humbly we cannot go back weather wedding welcome welcoming prayer wisdom wise counsel woman at the well woman caught in adultery women pastors women wonder worry worship yield youmatter zoom