Because we are traveling for Christmas this year, we had our Christmas Eve with the kids last night (Dec. 23). We traditionally give them a book and pajamas, and it’s fun to watch them get excited about opening a couple of presents ahead of time. (Okay, maybe the older ones are not suuuuper excited about pjs, but hey, it makes their mother happy.)
Ellie, our 3-year old, was especially cute as she opened her presents. She was happy and grateful and so much fun to watch. There were a few moments after the presents and before bed when they were all wearing their pjs, reading, hanging out by the fire, playing with the dog. Things were calm, and we could take a few minutes to just be and play and enjoy.
And then, after vibrating with excitement for the rest of the evening, they went to bed. You remember that feeling – you’re tired, but you don’t want to go to sleep, you just want Christmas morning to be here. You go to sleep full of excitement and you wake up early, ready to see your hopes fulfilled.
What was it like for Mary the night before she gave birth to Jesus?
She probably didn’t sleep much either, but she wasn’t waiting for presents. She was waiting for the Son of God to make his appearance.
No pressure or anything.
Even in the most modern of facilities with the best health care available today, women are nervous about giving birth. Imagine a 13-year old on her own, a few animals to keep her company, no parents, no doctor, no friends waiting to hear the news.
She was more likely to be vibrating with fear than excitement.
And yet – she knew the angel of the Lord had told her not to fear. She had said she was rejoicing in God her Savior, who had done great things for her. She knew generations to come would call her blessed, and she knew her actions were fulfilling God’s promise to Abraham and his people – the long-expected Savior was almost here.
On a purely human level, she was a mother about to meet her son for the very first time, a moment she would remember for the rest of her life.
Christmas Eve for Mary was a complicated mix of emotions – fear, joy, expectation, hope, love. Maybe she slept the night before she gave birth, and maybe she didn’t, but either way, she could rest secure in the knowledge that the baby she was about to have was the one who made possible the faith by which she had him.
Her baby would be her Savior, and she would remember this Christmas Eve the rest of her life.