From my 2012 Journal. The Christmas story leaves me with more questions than answers. If you just read Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 1, you’d conclude that Jesus was born in Nazareth. But suddenly Chapter 2 declares He was born in Bethlehem–no explanation as to why or how. Without Luke’s account, we’d be left to speculation: that Mary and Joseph left Nazareth due to the shame and embarrassment of Mary’s pregnancy.
We speculate about the town gossip that Mary endured, but I wonder . . . In those days pregnant women remained confined. It was not a condition to be flaunted and exposed like it is today. Even as recent as my mother’s day, any woman with child was termed “p.g.”–rather than the blatant “pregnant.” Because an unwed mother was such a shameful thing, I wonder if it was kept secret, hush-hush. How else could Joseph have “quietly” divorced her? And the marriage could have taken place as quickly as possible so the secret wouldn’t be discovered. Maybe. It’s a thought. But we always assume the other.
Another random thought: In a day when so many children died in birth or infancy and some mothers during childbirth as well, it must have been a tremendous comfort to Mary to hear “This son will live.”
And an afterthought: before sonograms existed, only a handful of people in history knew for sure what the gender of the baby was before birth. Think about it—are they ANY pre-birth announcements of GIRL babies?
Happy birthday, Jesus–even if we don’t know what the actual day was!