“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” -Luke 2:19
My heart has never been as full as when I gave birth to each of my children. It sounds cliché but giving birth is truly a miracle. The exhaustion of pregnancy and the pain of childbirth climax to what I consider the greatest emotional experiences of my life, and I treasure each one of those memories.
I guess that’s why at Christmastime I become this emotional mother who can’t help but cry when I witness a living nativity scene in a Christmas play or reread scripture about Christ’s birth. It’s all about that baby swaddled in a blanket. Shepherds and Kings kneel at the foot of a manger and Angels worship the miracle of the Christ child. And I sit with tears welling up because I can relate to treasuring the blessing of birth while pondering- like Mary- the miracle of God’s salvation to the world.
God chose the most inconvenient circumstances for Mary to have a baby. An unwed, teenage mother having to live with the cultural shame of her pregnancy. By cultural standards this could have led to the end of young Mary’s future. Giving birth out of wed-lock could have forced Mary into a life of begging and prostitution, as that was the risk in those cultural times. But God asked Mary and Joseph to have faith and trust in this unplanned event in their lives as His intentional promise to the world. It was a choice to see beyond their circumstances, and faith to see that God could bring glory from having a baby.
I don’t know about you but the birth of Christ, especially at this time of year, draws me to my knees in prayer. We live in a society where babies are in the headlines of politically motivated news stories instead of in birth announcements. Where words like pregnancy, unplanned, and birth are overpowered by the word “choice” instead of faith. The birth of a baby is too many times reflected in sentiments of being unwanted instead of loved and adopted. While our country argues over a woman’s right to choose and while graphic videos of companies profiting over the selling of aborted baby parts are watched, I can’t help but reflect on the intentional scene of Bethlehem.
God was just as deliberate in His plan of the miraculous conception of Christ from a virgin as He was in the circumstances surrounding His birth. That baby-held by such a young mother-and a father who risked his own shame to live out faith of this mighty plan of God, is not just the hope of Christmas. He is the hope of salvation.
Our world seems to have lost the understanding of hope, faith, and trust. The unborn baby in an unplanned pregnancy is still wrapped in shame by cultural standards but instead of faith to see beyond our circumstances, society fights for the right to “choose.”
There will never be an understanding of the hope and sacredness of life without the acknowledgement of a Savior. Christ’s birth, His life, and death defines the value of all life. It gives every baby’s life worth-planned or unplanned. I know that a woman’s “right to an abortion” will always fight for that right until she understands how Mary “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Sacredness of life begins in acknowledging a Savior and understanding the intentional purpose of an unplanned circumstance.
So as I watch that living nativity in remembrance of that miraculous day in Bethlehem, I pray that more people will know the hope of salvation. And as they reflect on the miracle of Christ’s birth, they will understand there’s another choice to make beyond their circumstances. God brought hope and glory from the birth of a baby. Oh, if only more people could truly let that set in and treasure that in their hearts. That is the hope of Christmas and that is the promise of every life born out of any circumstance.