I once worked at a store where only one of my co-workers was male. The poor man managed to endure while we discussed shoes and hairstyles, but what he couldn’t abide was our childbirth stories.
He would usually try to protest, but when the conversation shifted, he would find a task that would take him elsewhere.
Women love childbirth stories. Like Melanie in Gone with the Wind, we tend to believe “the happiest days are when babies come.”
Christmas is no exception. We love the story of Jesus’ birth. And though we try to be realistic and remind ourselves of the third-trimester donkey ride and dirty stable, we still focus on the result -- the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes.
If you’ve been a mother long enough, your child has disappointed you. Sometimes the disappointment cuts so deeply our hearts are broken. But all mothers, biological or adoptive, remember the joy and hope we felt the first time each child was placed in our arms.
Only one mother never had her heart broken by her child’s sin. Only one mother never had to accept that her child was not perfect. But that mother had her heart broken in a way that we can’t understand. She lived to see her nation reject the Messiah sent to save them. She lived to see her son die a violent, horrible death. As Simeon prophesied in Luke 2:35, she experienced a pain so deep it was like a sword that pierced her own soul.
I’m much closer in age to Mary at the foot of the cross than Mary at the manger. I can’t imagine the grief that flooded her mother’s heart as her son was beaten, spit upon, and nailed to a cross.
But Jesus was more than Mary’s son, he was also her Savior. Her son’s death secured her only hope of salvation. Because of Christ’s death on the cross, we can look past the pain and hurt of this world, past the sin that so easily entangles us (Hebrews 12:1-3) and look forward to the “hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27)
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11)