"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
The weather that night was so insignificant in light of everything else that she promptly forgot whether it was cold, hot, or just right. The things that stood out in her mind were details – the smell of fresh hay mixing with the musty, dirty scent of the animals. The incredible clearness of the night sky. Her husband wrapping his tired and blistered feet after their long journey. The look in his eyes: a mix of fear and the responsibility ahead, disappointment in his inability to provide more than a stable, and awe at what had just taken place. And love. Lots of love.
Even more, the details of her new son. The silky dark hair, the incredibly fine eyelashes and nearly invisible eyebrows. The tiniest of finger and toe nails. The unbelievable softness of his face that she couldn’t stop touching. The warm puffs of new breath on her hand as she memorized his features.
She couldn’t remember any pain or discomfort from her journey or experience – she knew it had happened, because it was forever ingrained in Joseph’s memory due to his fear and doubt. Perhaps it was her joy and relief at the safe delivery of her son, perhaps it was the mighty hand of God, relieving her of memories best put away. What she did remember was how soft the hay felt under her exhausted body, how attentive her young new husband was, bringing blankets and cool water. How she couldn’t stop staring at the tiniest of miracles. Her miracle.
She remembered his hand wrapped around her finger, how peacefully he slept, and how for a minute, he wasn’t the Messiah, he was simply her baby son. She was filled with more joy than she’d ever known, and it was as if a multitude of angels joined the song of her heart, “glory to God in the highest.”
The Lord was there. She remembered knowing, in the midst of everything, that He was there. Of course He would be there for the birth of His only Son. In every breath she took, in every cry in the night, He was there looking out for them and He too was aware of every detail of His child.
It was the night that changed everything.
They were sitting there studying and touching this tiny miracle when the shepherds showed up. How many there were was never clear to her, but they bowed, and they worshipped Him, her son. They knew what she and Joseph knew – the Messiah had come in the form of the most innocent of humans. A baby. Her baby. The One who would save the world was nestled warm and asleep in her arms.
She was aware of the look in Joseph’s eyes, one of love, but also recognition that he had no tie to this child other than the man who would raise him, and the weight of that responsibility shone through the look in his determined eyes. He would do his best, and he would do well. Of that she had no doubt.
Her son. So innocent, so peaceful, so beautiful. Did his Father guard his heart so he could sleep tonight? The weight of the world would fall heavy upon him soon enough. She remembered praying “Lord, for tonight, let him be a baby. Let him be my baby boy. This peace will all be gone so soon.”
A simple carpenter and his young wife, raising the King of the world, God’s only begotten son. The responsibility was heavy, the privilege so great. She remembers how young she was, and how much she loved her son – so much so, that she would never be able to put it in words to anyone.
And now, as she waits to join Him and her husband in heaven, she ponders these details she's kept in her heart all these years for the thousandth time. Not the weather, but the star. Not the pain, but the love. She watched his death, she saw them torture her baby boy. She also saw him alive and well again. Her baby? No, her Lord. Her Savior and Redeemer. She simply bore Him and raised Him, His life and accomplishments were of Him and His Father, not her. As John handed her the mug of cool water, she drank and went back to when Joseph brought her water all those years ago.
“Joseph, look at him. Jesus. He’s here.”