Mary Has a Baby Boy
When Baby Jesus was born in a manger, his mother and father had nowhere to stay so they lived in a stable with him. Joseph made a door across the entrance to keep out the wind, but the cave was still cold. Joseph’s family gave Mary and her baby woolen shawls to wrap themselves in. And Mary cuddled her child, peeking under the covers to smell warm milk and honey. Jesus’ tiny fist was bunched just beneath his chin, the thumb still damp and his lips still puckered into a tiny oh as they blew milky bubbles. Mary smiled, feeling warm all over with love for her child.
Upstairs, in the house above the cave, footsteps stirred. Voices murmured. Someone called out, “Good night and be blessed,” while someone else said, “Shush. We’re sleeping.” Mary felt very blessed indeed as she fell asleep as well. Then something startled her awake.
Rough voices whispered outside the stable door. Heavy feet scraped and scratched in the sandy soil. And a sheep began to bleat. But sheep should really be up on the hills with the shepherds, not trying to get back into the stable. Mary poked her face out from the blankets and wondered if she was dreaming. Next to her Joseph crawled over a pile of hay. “Who’s there?” he called. Knuckles rapped against the wooden door—rat-tat-tat—and Joseph struggled to his feet. He stumbled through the dark toward where the door should be and groaned loudly when he stubbed his toe on the big stone manger. “Just a minute. Just a minute,” he called. Then white light flooded into the room as Joseph pulled open the door. Was it morning already?
Mary stared at shapes of people and buildings brightly outlined in the street. It wasn’t moonlight, nor sunshine, that she could see. Instead the light seemed to flow from a single bright star overhead. She wondered what it meant. Then strange men crowded into the room.
“We’ve come to see the baby,” said an excited little boy. “Angels came and told us. Up on the hill.” He jumped up and down as he spoke, making Mary feel quite ill. “Please. Please. Where’s the baby?”
Mary let the shawls fall to the floor as she lifted up her child. “Here he is,” she said. “Here’s Baby Jesus.” Then she laid him gently in the warm soft straw of the manger. Jesus opened his eyes and looked around, but he didn’t cry.
“He’s beautiful,” said the little boy, touching the baby’s hand and laughing as a tiny fist wrapped itself around his finger. “Is he really a king?”
“He’s Immanuel—God with us,” Mary replied. “He’s the Messiah.”
“Just like the angels said,” an old shepherd replied. “And is he really a son of David?” he asked.
Joseph nodded then answered, reciting the names of his ancestors’ tribes all the way back to Abraham and Noah and even to Adam. “He’s my adopted son,” Joseph said proudly, “and that makes him a son of David, just as God promised.” Joseph lit a lamp as he spoke and closed the door to keep out the cold night air. Soon the stable began to feel quite warm. Sheep who’d followed the shepherds bedded down in straw, bleating contentedly. Children snuggled next to them though their eyes stayed open, staring in quiet awe at manger. Meanwhile the grownup shepherds talked about scriptures and promises and God. They weren’t as foolish as townspeople always said. Indeed, thought Mary, these shepherds might even be wiser than teachers of the law. She listened to every word they said, remembering the angel Gabriel who’d spoken to her, thinking of Joseph hearing from an angel in a dream, looking at the children and wondering how much they’d remember as they grew up, and watching her own small baby asleep in the hay.
The noise must have woken the rest of the family upstairs too. Soon the stable was filled with people and the shepherds slipped quietly away. The bright star shone, and Mary tried to imagine how her baby would grow. Who would he play with? What kind of friends would he make? And would he really know who he was?
Then she stared into the baby’s dark eyes and thought, he already knows.
Lord God, thank you for letting Jesus be born as a baby to save us.
Thank you for letting him live and grow up among ordinary people, so he’d know just how we feel.
Thank you for giving us our families, and thank you for adopting us into your family too.
Please help us always remember who we are—God’s beloved and adopted children.
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