Peace in an Unlikely Place
Sometimes the Bible leaves out details. I'm not saying the Bible is incorrect or lacking by any means, but sometimes when I'm reading certain sections I wonder what happened between the lines of scripture.
Let's think about Luke 2 for example. Many of you likely recognize this as the story of the Birth of Christ. You probably even have the majority of it memorized from years of recitation in grade school.
Do you sometimes wonder?
Wonder what Mary was feeling? Wonder what Joseph was feeling? Wonder what it would be like to be there?
A familiar hymn comes to mind when reading Luke 2.
Silent night! Holy night! All is calm, all is bright. Round yon virgin mother and child. Holy infant so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.
This verse has always given me the classic picture of Mary and Joseph sitting near the manger with baby Jesus all swaddled up sleeping. Aww, so sweet!
But when I read between the lines of Luke 2, I think, WHAT CHAOS!
Mary is traveling to Bethlehem on a donkey while pregnant. She's traveling with her husband who had just contemplated divorcing her. Oh, have I mentioned she's pregnant with the Son of God? Because that's a totally normal thing. So after this long donkey trip, they finally arrive in Bethlehem. Can you imagine how badly Mary just wanted to lie down. How badly she needed a bath. How badly her poor ankles and toes were swollen? Then imagine going from inn to inn, while being the size of a bus, and having to hear over and over again that "oh, no room here!" Do you think she wanted to be just a little emotional? (Pregnant women I know never have times of outrageous emotions....) So she's tired and dusty, and then what? Oh, her water breaks? Contractions start?Then they finally do find a place to stay.... annnnnd it's a stable. With animals. Do you know what animals and animal homes smell like? So Mary is having contractions for her first baby, which is terrifying, who just so happens to be God, which is totally crazy, in a stable where it smells like manure.
That is chaos. If I had been in Mary's shoes, I would have had a total breakdown! Her birth plan not only was not followed, it was burned and stomped on (except maybe the no drugs part).
But when Mary gave that final push and her precious, first born, beautiful baby boy was delivered, all was right again. When she held him for the first time and looked into his teeny little eyes and inspected his teeny little nose and his teeny little fingers, she felt joy. When she had this moment, this incredible first moment with the Savior of the entire world, she had complete peace.
So the night may not have been silent. There may have been a donkey trying to snack on Mary's bed. There may have been some high tensions as everything unfolded. But... I can feel what the song writer was writing about. I can feel that stillness even when chaos is all around. Radiant beams from thy holy face with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus Lord at thy birth.
Philippians 4:7, "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."