Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Journey to Bethlehem - Part 1

As we get ready to celebrate Christmas, it is always good to stop and remember the true meaning of Christmas. It’s easy to get caught up in the shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and typical hustle and bustle that comes with December 25th. So, to commemorate the birth of my Lord, I will be writing a four week series, retelling the events that led up to the birth of Jesus from how I believe Mary would have felt. This does have basis from Luke 2 and Matthew 1, but I have fictionalized it greatly to tell the story in a more personal way. Have a very Merry Christmas!

(From Mary’s Perspective)

I grabbed the pitcher and began making the half mile trek to the well. It seemed we were always in need of water on the hottest days! I did not like walking in the heat, but I tried to be cheerful about it all the same. My friend Maya came out of her house as I passed and offered to walk with me to the well. I denied her offer, knowing she was doing it to be nice. She nodded her head goodbye, and I carried on
with my task.

As I reached the well, I found it odd that no one was around. Typically, there were several mothers with children drawing the water for their families. I thought no more of it, however, and dipped my jar into the full well. As I drew it out, I had a strange sensation that someone was near. I turned around and dropped my pitcher to the ground in fright. An angel stood before me, smiling!

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for I have great news! You are to bear a son and he shall be called Immanuel, God with us,” the angel Gabriel said. I was so frightened, and many thoughts were racing through my already confused mind. Yes, I was engaged to a man named Joseph, but I was still a virgin! What could the angel mean?

“How can this be? For I am a virgin!” I cried. The angel smiled and told me that I would become pregnant by the Holy Spirit. I was calmed, somewhat, and then Gabriel was gone. I took a deep breath to steady myself, now thinking of how I would tell Joseph and my family. Babies born out of wedlock were terribly mistreated, and the mothers condemned to death in some cases.

I drew more water from the well, and started home, dreading what was to come. Although I was terrified, a wonderful peace settled around me. I was to bear the Son of God! How could this be? I was not a particularly perfect girl, nor did I seem special in any way. I was just Mary, betrothed to Joseph in a small town called Nazareth. Yet God had chosen me, and I felt so very special because of it.

I had finally reached my home, and knew that I needed to tell my family as quickly as possible. I set the jar of water down, and sent a quick prayer for strength up to God. I walked into my house, and saw that both my parents were in the kitchen talking quietly. And there in the corner, was Joseph! God had obviously arranged this gathering, and I was to tell them my news at that very moment.

“Father, Mother, Joseph,” I whispered, scared nearly to death. “I must tell you something.” They all looked at me with worry written across their faces, and I knew this would not be easy. I took a deep breath and began again, “As I walked to the well today, an angel of the Lord appeared to me! It was most wonderful, and he said that I am to become pregnant and bear the Son of God!” From the looks on their faces, I knew they thought I was crazy.

“How could you! What a lie you have told! How could you betray your betrothed and become pregnant by another man? What a wicked girl you are,” my father yelled. Tears began rolling down my cheeks as I realized that my family would not accept my explanation. Both were God-fearing people, but such a thing was unheard of. I bowed my head meekly, accepting his criticism, although not agreeing with it. My mother ran from the room, sobbing angrily.

At that moment, I felt the hand of God comforting me and telling me to trust Him. Joseph looked me in the eye and I could see the heartbreak and betrayal that he thought I was doing to him. Then Joseph said, “Mary, I don’t know why you would betray me like this, and I should have you stoned. It is not against the law to murder an adulteress, and if I had the mind to do it, I would. But I think I would rather divorce you in quiet so that you are not hurt.”

I could contain it no longer, and began weeping with a broken heart. My father sternly told me to leave until I could regain my composure, and I ran outside and all the way to the well. I looked around thinking of all the things that were happening because of the baby growing inside me. I did not know how I would deal with it! Overcome with emotion and sadness, I threw myself to the ground, sobbing like I never had before. Then I remembered that God had chosen me, a poor young girl to bear His son. The tears stopped flowing as I raised my hands to the heavens, crying out to God.

Then I made this commitment: “I will bear this child, O Lord! I will bear him for you!”

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