Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us.
She was not completely alone; her husband was with her, and those animals that shuffled and snuffled heavily in the night. Even so, Mary felt alone and isolated. This grand event that should be attended by the women from her village, bustling noisily about the activities that only women understood, was starkly different for her. She wished her Mum was with her. She felt that somehow, having with her the one who had given her safe passage into the world, would make everything she was going through seem a little less alien, a little more familiar.
Yet, here she was, alone, except for the man who had made the courageous, life-changing choice to believe her story. He was the one labouring with her; his own form of labour that strove to work with her in a mysterious work, unknown to both of them. The familiar farmyard smells were foreign to this endeavour, yet they worked on together and the incongruity of their environment faded into the background as the labour intensified.
And then, there he was, all bright and red and beautiful. His hands, His feet, all there – all as it should be. She’d known it would be thus, but sometimes she had wondered what she could expect when this baby, this God-dwelling-with-mankind, finally arrived. And now she sat, quietly suckling the infant, while the man God had chosen to support and strengthen her, moved quietly round the stable, restoring order.
Gazing with awe at this tiny, holy being, her eyes filled with wonder. She raised a tender hand … and touched the face of God.
Like you and me, Mary only had her religious tradition to draw from as she strove to understand God. She knew what He once was to His people, but this was the dawning of a new covenant. The birth of her Son ushered in a new promise, a declaration that God deeply loved the entire world, not just one people group.
She did not then know that He was born to die. She did not understand the depth at which God had given Himself so that all humanity, including herself, could be freed from the chains of sinning and being sinned against. But she knew that nothing would ever be the same again.
Only God can set His people free. Only humanity can be the expression of that. This tiny God/man who lay in Mary’s arms was the fullness of all the Creator intended for the people He loves. She didn’t know what lay ahead, or how it could come to pass, but this little teenage mother knew that somehow, with the birth of this little, helpless baby, the world was changed forever.