I was reading and rereading the accounts of Christ’s birth from Matthew and Luke and was thinking about Mary’s high calling and her subsequent hardships. When she said “yes” to being the mother of our Savior I’m sure she had no idea what that would entail. I mean what mom does? Not that we can begin to understand the holy privilege Mary was given, but she had to walk through her life in the framework of this fallen world and we do get that.

For instance, when Mary had to jostle around on a donkey’s back in the last hours of her pregnancy you know good and well she hadn’t expected that. Who would have imagined God wouldn’t have made that journey easier for the mother of the coming King? I mean really . . . a donkey?

And then when Joseph and Mary finally arrived in Bethlehem they discovered there’s no room in the Inn. What’s that about? Surely the heavens could have reserved one comfy room for the birth of Immanuel? Right? I mean if my husband had said I could give birth in the stable I would have wanted to chat with the innkeeper’s wife, someone who might intervene. But isn’t that what we anticipate God will do? Intervene?

Have you ever laid down on straw? Hey, it’s poky-picky, not to mention full of allergens and not what one would call a hygienic environment. Practically speaking it wasn’t practical. I can hear me saying to Joseph…”Listen Jo-Jo, go over there and sheer a sheep or pluck a couple chickens. This bed hurts!”

Then if Mary hasn’t been through enough she, Joseph, and the baby Jesus had to hide away in a strange land. Just when she needed the help of her family and girlfriends she is in a far place under the threat of harm.

What I’m saying is we have the advantage of the overview of Mary’s circumstances and of God’s hand in it all. And what looked unnecessary was all part of a great plan that would fulfill prophecy regarding our Redeemer. No one—not even Mary—can escape life without difficulties.

Likewise our heartaches and hardships are being used to fulfill God’s plan for us. Pain has purpose . . . divine purpose.  Do not be disheartened. Jesus told us life would have “tribulation” but to be of “good cheer” because He who was born under the bright star of hope has overcome the world . . . for us.

Merry Christmas!