Editor’s Note — Mentoring and helping develop young communicators is an added bonus to what we get to do at TAB. When those young communicators find their voice we cheer. And when they perfect their art, we become the students. I’d like to present a reflection on Luke 2 for the Christmas season by one of TAB’s former interns who is now an award-winning creative writer and mom of two adorable little boys. Thank you, Amanda Oliver Hendricks, for sharing your gift with all of us.
By Amanda Oliver Hendricks
Mary was exhausted. Months of behind the back whispers. Perhaps moments her own fears had taken over the gratitude and faith that was her foundation.
“I don’t even know myself completely. How can I be a mother?”
An echo inside of her barely above the silence before she would close her eyes to sleep: the Son of God.
The journey on a donkey with its bumps and unsteadiness had rocked the baby inside her to sleep and brought her body closer and closer to the moment of His birth.
Weary. To arrive and find nowhere to rest or curl up from the pain as the contractions deepened. Drained. She had felt more physical pain than she’d ever experienced in her young life. She cried out. Every moan mimicked by the livestock surrounding her.
Depleted. Mary prayed loudly in her heart and on the ground as she lay beside the manger where they would soon place Jesus. Sweat pouring down her face in the cold night. Tears of anticipation. Excitement to meet the Son of God. The Son she carried heavily in her belly. A belly that had shook with His kicks and hiccups. That had grown rounder than she could have imagined to be possible.
She pushed. Pushed herself. Went limp and let God push her past fears, questions and the limits of a human faith. Then she pushed for Him, the Savior whose whole journey she couldn’t yet see, His face held up before her.
Crying out as He was pulled from her, she pushed herself until she saw the face of God. And then she sobbed. She sobbed in relief as Joseph lay the baby’s soft body on her chest. She kept Him warm. This baby her body had nourished. The sound that soothed Him, her own heartbeat. She held Him on her bare chest and they cried together. She christened Him in her tears and He cleansed her — little rivers of dirt from the journey trickling away until she was clean.
When she woke there was a brightness to the night. She kissed the top of His head that smelled like almonds and heaven. She patted the back that would some day carry the burden of the whole world.
She looked to see if He had her hands, she counted His toes and she watched for the rise and fall of each of His breaths. Did He have the same birthmark she carried on the back of her neck?
His eyes that had been shaped so much like her own had stared up at her after His birth as if He knew her. I have waited all this time just to see you. Mary, the first to see that she was truly made in the image of God, could trust fully that this was the best thing she’d ever done in her whole life. So far, He had done nothing but breathe, move, cry … and yet she was so proud of Him as His mother.
She pondered these things in her heart. How much she could love this baby boy who God would use to save the whole world. The baby who at this moment was just being held by her. His mother. Fed by her. His mother. Loved more than she thought she could ever love. His mother. She realized that if this is how she felt for her son … how much more did God love her as His daughter?
She pondered as the tiny baby in her arms took His first breaths — before He performed a miracle, taught a crowd of followers or ultimately sacrificed everything for those He loved.
He changed her whole world. He healed her first — just by wrapping His hand around her finger.