Mary’s Birth Story

She was very surprised to learn she was having a baby. This pregnancy was unplanned. To say the least. She was engaged to be married. She was a virgin. So, technically, there was no way she could become pregnant. Except for one thing. An angel of God visited her. He said she would have a child. This child would be the Son of God. She was to carry and birth the Savior of the world.

Then during the final days of Mary’s pregnancy, she and Joseph left town. They traveled to Bethlehem to be counted in the census. It was roughly a seventy mile trip. Mary on the donkey. Joseph on foot. The terrain was hilly and uneven. It was rough country. The trip either went straight through Samaritan country, or down an out of the way path around the city to reach Bethlehem. The first option was dangerous and uncertain. The second route added more time to an already long trip.

On top of the uncertainties of the trip, Mary was heavily pregnant. Her time was coming due. Oh. She had no birth plan, as is the norm these days. She had never given birth. Perhaps she had been involved in midwifery for other women. Yet she was young. Perhaps she had witnessed her mother birthing younger siblings. Had her mother instructed her on what to expect in birthing a baby? Was she prepared to be completely alone with her husband who was not the father of her child? Did Joseph know what to expect when his wife was expecting?

When the couple arrived in Bethlehem, there were crowds of people. Hotel rooms were full. No vacancy anywhere. They found space in a stable where they spent time awaiting the impending birth. And her time came as they were in the distant city. She was not surrounded by women who knew her. She was not in the company of friends. She was alone with the man who was her husband but not the father of her child. She had yet to know this man intimately, yet he was to help her birth the baby.

Was it an awkward experience for both of them? Joseph was not experienced at delivering babies. Oh. He worked with his hands, but as a carpenter. His hands were rough and strong. But perhaps he was gentle as he soothed her sweaty brow. Was she in labor for hours? Was it an easy birth? Or, was this the perfect labor and delivery, because the Deliverer was being delivered? There were no robes of royalty for this newborn. Mary wrapped this infant King in strips of cloth.

Oh. There was no birthing room. No blood tests. No IV. No heartbeat monitors. No epidural. No apgar test. There were no newborn photos to share with the family. There were no footprints inked on a birth certificate. No steak dinners to celebrate the happy occasion. They were in a stable where animals were kept. Nothing was sterile about the place, yet this perfect child came to save an unsterile world.


The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel. Matthew 1:23


But the birth announcement was out of this world. Literally. As shepherds were in the fields that night, an angel burst onto the scene. He announced the birth of this baby. And then a choir of angels appeared and sang to the shepherds. They sang of his birth. Glory to God in the highest. Peace on earth. Goodwill to all men. The shepherds immediately left the fields and found the stable in Bethlehem. There they worshipped the infant King of kings and Lord of lords.

On the eighth day after his birth, Mary and Joseph took the baby to the temple where he was circumcised. He was given the name Jesus. An offering of two doves was presented that day. It was a typical day in the life of a couple christening their child.

But there were those in the temple. Two who had been waiting for this moment. They had been waiting for years. Their hearts had been stirred as he was brought in for this ceremony. They knew what only his parents knew. They confirmed that he was the Son of God. The Incarnate God in flesh. And only eight days old.

I’m sure Mary pondered this unusual announcement in her heart. She and Joseph had not shared the details of this immaculate conception with strangers. There was no need. Yet here they came. An elderly man named Simon and an elderly widowed woman named Anna. They each shared the prophecies of the birth of this One born in the royal line of David.

Everything we need to know about Mary’s birth story has been written. The information is shared throughout the Bible. The more personal and private details have been left out. Because they aren’t the focus of the story. The baby’s weight is inconsequential. The hours of labor aren’t counted. It doesn’t matter when her water broke. Or when she was fully dilated. The birth of this baby was ordained by God the Father. His birth was part of a beautiful, sacrificial plan for mankind’s salvation. No other birth story compares. The breath of eternal life is given to everyone who calls on the name of Jesus.

Heavenly Assignment

I was asked to take on a new client at the last minute. I knew the two owners, my employers, would also be on the conference call. Me. The newbie. Them. The experienced owners. No pressure.

So I took the little bit of time I had and prepared. I’m not the spontaneous type. I’m methodical. Calculated. Deliberate. I don’t normally do things on the fly. Oh. I do if I have to. But the fly doesn’t seem to go well for me. But I couldn’t say that. I couldn’t let them see me sweat. I couldn’t let them hear the nervousness I was feeling.

So I did the one thing I do. I prayed. I asked God to empower me with boldness. I asked him to enable me to calmly present the information. I asked him to equip me for the work ahead.

Faith in God is liberating. Faith allows God to do the work that my fears and worries would only stifle. And God came through for me. Instead of fear and nervousness, I was calm and relaxed.

Oh. The majority of the work is still ahead. But it will get done. There may be more long work days ahead. But the task is for me and I am equipped.


You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said. Luke 1:45


Mary heard the Angel’s message. You are favored. You will conceive and bear a son. You will name him Jesus. He will be the Savior of the world. I’m sure she was alarmed. I’m sure she felt inadequate. But she also felt called and blessed among women.

Mary didn’t whine or complain about the assignment from God. She accepted the call to be the mother of the God child. The angel had told her about her cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant at an old age. He said that the word of God will never fail. Nothing is impossible with God. And Mary accepted the news without a backward glance. She was all in. In spite of being outside her comfort zone. There was no turning back.

Mary spent some time with Elizabeth, who was also unusually pregnant at an advanced age.  Their boys would cause the world to stand up and take notice.   And Mary was thankful that God noticed her.

Oh. I haven’t been asked to bear the Son of God. But I have been noticed by God. He sees all that I do. He leads me in paths that I might not choose. But I choose to take the path where He leads. I’ve been asked to take on responsibilities that seem to stretch me every day. But I know God has led me there, so I’m all in. Regardless of the difficulty and unsettledness that others feel there, I am at peace.

Oh. The peace comes because I continue to ask God to help me. I continue to ask God to work in me and through me. And He does. Even though the angel hasn’t visited me, words of truth and comfort are whispered to me from the Lover of my Soul. So no matter the difficulty of the task I’ve been given, I am blessed because I believe the Lord will do what he says. Nothing is impossible with God.


Seeking Truth

Her name was Mary.  Some historians say she was the wife of Cleopas.  The Bible says she was the mother of  two sons, Joseph and James.  She was a friend of Mary Magdalene.  She was a friend of Mary, Jesus’ mother.  She was a disciple of Jesus.

This Mary was at the crucifixion.  She saw Jesus suffer.  She heard him cry out.  It is finished.  She saw him take his last breath.  She went to the tomb early on Sunday morning with burial spices for Jesus’ body.  She and the other women wondered how they would roll the heavy stone away from the tomb.  She saw the angels standing at the tomb with the stone rolled away.  She heard the angel say Jesus was risen.  She saw the empty tomb.   She ran to tell the others that Jesus was gone.  Risen.

He’s risen.  But what does that even mean?  How does a person die and then come back to life?  Where was he if he was suddenly alive again?  Why did he leave behind the clothes in the tomb?  Where did he go?  And angels? How could this even be real?

So Mary and Cleopas packed up and left their friends in Jerusalem.  They left for home.  On the Sabbath.  They had been in town for the Passover celebration.  They were witnesses to the horrible events of the weekend that had claimed the life of the man they were following.  The man they assumed would be their Savior.  Their Messiah.  They and their sons were followers of Jesus.  But this was too much.

Have you ever noticed?  Jesus had a large number of followers who were involved in his life.  No.  They weren’t part of the group of twelve, but they were disciples.   They supported him and his ministry with their own money.  Oh.  They knew he was a great teacher.  They said he was a prophet who performed miracles.  They had hoped he was the Messiah.  But they didn’t yet believe it.

As Mary and Cleopas walked home after the events of Passover week, they were dazed.  Their week of celebrating had ended in tragedy.  In defeat.  The man they knew as a miracle worker was dead.  The man they knew to be a great teacher had been killed.  Oh.  Mary had seen his empty tomb.  She had told Cleopas.  But their hearts didn’t really hear the words the angel had spoken.  He is risen.  He is alive.  It wasn’t possible for one to die and then live again.  Was it?  They heard with their ears, but their hearts didn’t listen.  Until they did.

Jesus was the talk of the town during the Passover weekend.  Rumors were spreading.  Gossipmongers were sharing bits and pieces of the story.  Was it fake news or was it real?  What was the truth?  Was an innocent man put to death?  And for what?  For saying he was king of the Jews?  Oh.  There were those who hoped he was the Messiah.  But he hadn’t been able to save himself.  So how could he be the promised One?

The disciples’ hopes were dashed that weekend.  All they had heard.  All they had seen Jesus do was gone.  Doubt crept in.  Who do we trust?  What should we believe?  Who will now be our Savior?  Our Messiah?  What now?

Should they just set aside all those experiences they had with Jesus? What did that mean? How do they move forward when the one they followed was dead?

Did the people not understand because their hearts weren’t fully open to the truth?  Oh.  They had heard the teachings about the coming Messiah.  They had been taught how he would suffer, be killed and rise from the dead on the third day.  Did they think that would truly happen?  In their lifetime?  Did they realize prophecy was coming to life before their very eyes?   Did they understand that they were part of the resurrection story?


Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.  John 11:25


Jesus appeared to Mary and Cleopas as they walked the Emmaeus road on that Sabbath.  He saw that they were deep in conversation, so he asked to join them.  God kept them from recognizing him as they continued down the road.  They shared the happenings of the week in bewilderment that this man hadn’t heard the news.  But this man shared all the prophesies and teachings about himself as they walked.  Still they didn’t recognize him.  They didn’t know he was talking about himself.  Until they did.

They invited this stranger into their home.  The walk had been long and the day felt even longer.  They were all tired, hungry and dusty.  Stay for a bite.  They said.  And spend the night.  As they sat to eat, the man who had died on the cross just two days earlier broke the bread and gave thanks.  Only then were their hearts and eyes opened to the truth.  This man was Jesus.  The Son of God.  He truly was the Messiah.   He walked with them.  He talked with them.  He broke bread in their home.  He most certainly was alive.

Only then did they see him for who he really was.

What will it take to make us believe that Jesus really is the Christ?  The Son of God?  What will open our hearts?  What will cause us to see Him for who He really is?  Are we so hungry that we’re willing to search for him?  Really search until we find Him as the only Lord of our lives?  Are we drawn to Him so much that we’re willing to read His word?  To seek the truth?

Or.  Do we only seek truth through the eyes and lips of others?  Do we take the words and teachings of others as truth when we haven’t searched for truth ourselves?  Isn’t God’s Word the place of truth?  Do the interpretations of others hold weight when we haven’t tested them against God’s word?  Who can we trust if we don’t trust God to speak the truth?  Why do we tend to believe others over what God’s word says?

What will it take to see the truth?  What will it take to have a heart hungry to know the truth?  Would we believe if Jesus himself were here in person to speak truth to us?  Are our hearts looking for truth?

I have to ask myself.  Am I any different from Mary?  Oh.  I am a believer.  I read my Bible.  I listen to sermons.  I attend a Bible study.  I pray.  I spend time with other believers.  But what truth am I missing?  What is God trying to say to me that I don’t hear or understand?  Is my heart open to the truth?