She’s about 40 weeks pregnant. She is as they say, “ripe with pregnancy.” It seems like a life-time ago when Gabriel made a surprise visit.
The angel seemed to appear out of nowhere. Mary was stunned. Gabriel informed her she was highly favored for she had been chosen to bear the Son of God. Mary is a practical and chaste woman. How? She’s a virgin after all. Gabriel continued, she will conceive by the Holy Spirit coming upon her by the power of God.
Mary is a smart girl. She is acutely aware of the shame, the condemning looks and ostracizing by family and friend soon to come. What about her finance? She knows Joseph is an honorable man. He will have every right to end their engagement. In his day, engagement was as binding as marriage.
This is what God calls highly favored? At least that would have been my thought. Not Mary. Mary acquiesces. She is the Lord’s servant. As for Joesph, he has a dream. An angel appears to him and gives him the same news Gabriel gave Mary. He is to marry her. Joseph acquiesces. He is an honorable man.
Before he departs, Gabriel lets Mary in on some news. Elizabeth is pregnant. Elizabeth? Barren Elizabeth is going to have a baby? At her age? Mary dashes off to Elizabeth’s for a three month visit. Mary is there for her baby’s birth.
Mary returns home with a baby bump. At three months, her baby is fully formed. He has arms, legs, fingers, toes. He can open and close his mouth. Systems and organs are functioning.
Fast forward forty weeks. Her baby, of questionable conception, is due any minute. He has positioned himself head first in the birth canal. It is likely her legs are cramping. She’s not sleeping well. She is plain tired. She might be experiencing contractions.
It is precisely at this moment in Mary’s pregnancy she and her finance are on a seventy mile trek to his hometown to pay taxes. Joseph is likely walking. Mary is riding on the back of a donkey. This is what highly favored by God looks like?
When the couple arrive in Bethlehem, they soon discover there’s no room in the inn. There’s no room any where. Mary’s womb has been expanding to make room for Jesus for nine months. Now, when it’s time to give birth, there’s no room? Surely, someone noticed the girth of Mary’s waistline. Surely, they knew she could deliver that baby any second. No one was making room for Jesus’ birth. What would you have done if you were Mary? Put yourself in Joseph’s shoes…
They find a manger…a cave. They find a feeding trough. Mary, with Joseph by her side, goes through labor in that cave. The umbilical cord is cut in that cave. Jesus took his first human breath in that cave. Mary snuggly wrapped her son , the Son of God, in swaddling cloths and laid him in that feeding trough. There was no room for them in Bethlehem.
What about you? What about me? Are we making room for Jesus? This Christmas may our hearts be overcome with a deepening understanding of his limitless unbridled love for us.May we prepare him room out of the overflow of that love.