The wrenching pains of labor were getting closer. It was getting more difficult to find something to focus on to just make it through the next one. Joseph’s face swam into view and she tried a half hearted smile to ease his worry.
This was going to be tough, but she had been promised this boy. As soon as she could cradle him in her arms,she would be able to touch Heaven, so she pushed through.
She focused a little past Joseph and saw the manger with a few cloths awaiting the birth. Oh how she had wanted to create a real nursery for him. Joseph was a Carpenter and she was sure that he would make him a beautiful cradle that she could lean in and just watch Heaven breathe.
He was going to be a King, she had been promised and now as Joseph scurried a curious lamb away and absentmindedly handed some hay to the cow. Her heart sunk. This was no place for this God given child to be born.
But then in one last push, she reached for the tiny infant. Joseph quickly brought some towels to dry the baby boy up and Mary began to shed tears as she held this very normal looking infant to her chest.
Little hands that would one day be pierced.
Bright eyes that would one day close when he announced “It Is Finished.”
Baby soft smooth skin that would be marred from beating.
Tiny feet that would one day carry Him to spread His true Father’s work.
Her tears rained upon his skin and the collision of a mother’s love and knowing this baby was born to be a sacrifice ripped her in two. She knew what would be done and knew she couldn’t save him.
Jesus nestled closer to her heartbeat and an amazing peace flowed through her. She closed her eyes and remembered the angel’s promise of this boy held against her. She willingly gave herself knowing the cost. For a moment though, he was her newborn. Helpless with out her now, but would grow into a man reaching all the helpless and hopeless. His destiny was to leave this world a better place and leave Grace in his wake.
She would always love him as her firstborn, but she would have to let him go to do his True Father’s work. She would pretend for just a moment that this tiny little boy was just hers. Pretend that the pain wouldn’t be the price and pretend she could protect him. Pretend for just a moment that this was a normal birth.
At that moment she could see a light from outside and cradled Jesus against her chest, leaning against Joseph for strength, they made it to opening. Angels filled the skies with their eyes on the tiny King. Singing a song meant only for him.
She pulled the rags against him tighter and knew the pretending was in vain. In her human arms she held a symbol for all man that would pay the ultimate sacrifice. As the angels continued, she praised God with them for choosing her and allowing her to for just a moment, hold Heaven close to her heart.
As a mother, I can’t imagine knowing my child would die brutally from the moment of birth. I know my children are very normal and I know the depth of love I had from the moment they were born. I would easily die in their place, take the hurt from them and comfort them anytime they were ridiculed. Each time I held one of my own children after birth, it did feel like holding Heaven for a moment.
But this was not Mary’s path and she chose it willingly and obediently. Selfless and heart broken, she held the little boy closer to the angels singing and presented her newborn to feel His Father’s gaze from the Heavens she couldn’t see.