December 14, 2017

Fresh Insights into Christmas - Ruth L. Snyder

When has Christ revealed something about Himself to you at Christmas? This is the question InScribe writers are addressing this month in our blog posts.

One thing I appreciate about my relationship with Jesus Christ is that He is always teaching me and giving me new insights in my spiritual life, both through His Word and through life experiences. This year He used the pregnancy of our eldest daughter and the birth of our first grandson to cause me to reflect on the birth of Christ from a fresh perspective.

Although our daughter greeted her pregnancy with excitement and anticipation, she also voiced concern and a need for support. She had many questions and faced many unknowns because it was her first pregnancy. 

The Book of Luke records several reactions Mary had to the angel's announcement:

Luke 1:29 - "Mary was greatly troubled. . . and wondered."
Luke 1:34 - "How will this be?"
Luke 1:38 - "I am the Lord's servant."

It's difficult for me to imagine everything Mary had to take into consideration when she heard the angel's announcement. Not only did she face the usual questions about pregnancy and child birth, but she also faced the possibility of losing her fiance and being publicly shamed. She was a young woman, engaged to be married. If the baby wasn't Joseph's, the natural assumption would be that Mary had committed adultery. Joseph could choose to divorce her and she would face public ridicule and rejection from those she loved. She also risked not having the support she needed for her pregnancy.

I had the privilege of being present for the birth of our grandson. I drove our Grand Caravan 40 kilometers to the hospital, and was greeted by a cheerful receptionist who directed me to the maternity ward. The spotless labor room had a comfortable bed for the mother-to-be and a separate bed for the baby, with all kinds of knobs and switches.  A container of ice water had face cloths we placed on my daughter's forehead. The nurse and doctor were attentive, explained procedures, and provided pain medication. 

Luke informs us that Mary and Joseph traveled from Nazareth to Bethlehem, a distance of about 130 kilometers or 80 miles. We are not told how they traveled, but it is likely they made the journey on foot. (As our family went through an advent calendar this year, we discussed whether or not Mary rode a donkey. Our kids insisted she did. We discovered there is no mention of a donkey in any of the Biblical accounts of Christ's birth.) Traveling from Nazareth to Bethlehem would typically be a week-long journey on foot. We are not told how many days Mary and Joseph traveled or where they spent the nights. This type of journey seems incomprehensible to me, even without pregnancy involved. Mary was at least eight months pregnant when she made the journey.

Picture from Pixabay

 "While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:6-7).
The Bible makes no mention of anyone helping Mary with the birthing process. Perhaps her bed was a cloth thrown over straw. How long was she in labor? We are not aware if she had any way of reducing the pain. Did Joseph cut the umbilical cord?

Me holding my grandson, Dane.

I am looking forward to watching my grandson grow up. Will he be shy or outgoing? What will he be passionate about? My hope and prayer is that he will come to understand and accept the amazing gift of salvation God provided through Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.


  1. Congratulations Ruth :) Our family went through that experience last year when our grand-daughter arrived on Dec. 23. It really does bring the birth of Jesus into even closer perspective. All the best to you and your family and new little grandson!

    1. Thanks, Gloria
      I'm sure your grand-daughter will liven up your Christmas this year as a one-year old :)
      Joy to the World!

  2. Thanks, Ruth, for bringing out the astonishing comparison between the birth of your new grandson and the circumstances for Mary as she carried the Christ-child and brought him into the world. Here he would become Emmanuel, or God with us. How different our faith and our lives would be without God sending his son to be born of a humble, loving and obedient young woman. Alleluia!

    1. Sharon,
      Thanks for cheering me on :) Yes, the comparisons are astonishing. How grateful I am for Emmanuel, and for Mary's obedience!

  3. How wonderful to become Grandma!! May you enjoy! I know with my first born in October, I contemplated Mary's story in a new and more meaningful way. Merry Christmas!! I'm sure it will be merrier with the new one!

    1. Thanks, Jocelyn,
      Congratulations on your grandchild! May our grandchildren grow up to know and love the Christ of Christmas.

  4. So happy for you in being able to share in Dane's life as a grandparent. He will be blessed. Merry Christmas to you and your extended family.

    1. Thanks, Bob
      I trust you and your extended family had a Merry Christmas. May 2018 be a year of growing closer to God for all of us!


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