Labor pains


 Christmas Eve...within 24 hours, Mary, you will give birth to the Most High. What was said of your life has and will come to pass...the Promise (not just to you, but from the beginning of time) was true and is now being fulfilled.

Amazing...

But perhaps that doesn't alleviate your discomfort in these moments...

  • The discomfort of riding a donkey while 9 months pregnant...
  • The discomfort of being away from family and familiar, "homey" environments...
  • The discomfort of your water breaking, contractions starting, and watching your betrothed run frantically from door to door trying to find a place for you to have this baby...
  • The discomfort of laying on prickly straw...
  • Painful contractions coming ever closer together...
  • The discomfort of looking at Joseph's helpless face...and the stench of the stable making your already nauseous stomach intolerable...
  • The discomfort of delivery without drugs, or doctors, or sterile environments...
  • The oddity of holding a seemingly helpless and vulnerable God, made flesh as a newborn, in your arms...
 My discomforts seem hardly to compare.

Did you scream in pain? Were you cognizant that God was being born into the world? In the midst of the excruciating discomforts of your current reality, did you have second guesses about saying "Yes" to this audacious request to bear the Son of God? Did you look at the vulnerable little baby and ponder, "How is this the Wonderful Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace?" To what degree were you aware of the immensity of this moment?

Thank you Mary.

Thank you for saying yes. Thank you for consenting to Loving God's request. Thank you for being obedient despite the discomforts of all you endured - not just physically in delivering a child, but in all the scandals, naysayers and pointing "shame on you" fingers you endured.

Two millenia later, I feel loved by you, strengthened by your example, encouraged to hold fast in my own reality of discomforts - real or perceived. What is the "more" that is transpiring in the midst of what feels painful? Lord, what are you birthing in and through me and my life? Will I say yes? I want to say "yes!"

"All we could ever imagine, could ever hope for He is. He is the wise royal Counselor who fills us with wonder, who holds the tangled storylines of history and will one day bring true understanding between all individuals and nations. He is the God of Might, whose power can accomplish any and every task His holiness demands. His power we need not fear for He is also the Father Eternal who is tenderness itself and who is ever motivated by His everlasting love for His children. Finally, He is Prince of Peace whose first coming has already transformed society but whose second coming will forever establish justice and righteousness. Al this and infinitely more, alive in an impoverished baby in a barn.

"That is what Christmas means - to find in a place where you would least expect to find anything you want, everything you could ever want."
~Michael Card, in The Promise: A Celebration of Christ's Birth


 For reFlection:
  • In the midst of your Christmas preparations and celebrations, are you encountering discomforts?
  • What are you "wishing for" as you celebrate Christmas tonight and tomorrow? I.e. What is the "Everything you could ever want?" 
  • How might you find the "more" God might be birthing in and through you even in the midst of your discomforts?
 www.mysoulrefresh.com