December 24, 2021/Christmas Eve
Joseph drifted off to sleep nearly an hour ago. Exhaustion from long trek to this place, a long night of labor, the birth of our baby. He does well to sleep; I wish I could.
The last several miles of our journey were torturous. I knew Joseph would worry, so I didn’t tell him I was feeling those early pangs that signaled the baby would soon come. By the time we reached the village, it was late. No one had any rooms by then. A kind innkeeper offered us the use of his barn, and that is where the baby finally was born.
It is not what I pictured for the birth of my first child, but I am grateful. The animals’ breath fills the space with warmth, and the straw smells sweet and clean. And you, little one, you should be sleeping, too. Yet, you are awake, alert. I know babies aren’t supposed to be able to focus on anything, but you look at me with those deep brown eyes as if you see deep into my heart.
Do you see there the love I hold for you, little one? A mother’s love, deep and abiding, even when you get into trouble, as you are bound to do. I wonder if you’ll be a little scamp like your father. Like Joseph, I mean. He is your father, at least for now. Will you know? Do you know even now, that your true Father looks down from the stars, His heart resting in your chest, beating like any other baby boy?
The shepherds surprised me with their appearance. Their faces were aglow with an inner light almost like yours. As they described the angel’s appearance to them, I remembered Gabriel’s visit to me, nine long months ago. I understood their feelings of awe, their humility in the face of such divine brilliance. But they reminded me of Gabriel’s words to me, when they called you Savior, Messiah. No, I shouldn’t have been surprised. But I had locked those words away deep in my heart. It was easier that way, easier than contemplating what it meant to give birth to the Son of God.
But now, the words are fresh again. I hear them with awe, and with fear. Can I just have this time, this moment, God, to peel the cloths from this little one, to count the tiny fingers and toes, to smell his baby smell, before you call him yours?