For unto us a child is born....
There is something special about having a baby in the house at Christmastime. Maybe it's because Grandma & Grandpa have an excuse to buy toys and be kids again themselves. Maybe it's the promise of hope for the future that comes with a new life.
Not all babies show up with great expectation and celebration, though.
When our grandson Ethan was born, his mama was just 17 years old. Now, today's society is much more accepting of unwed mothers in general, but there are still the glances and the tut-tut's and the tsk-tsk's that are directed at a mother who is so young. There's the curiosity, even judgement, of "how this happened," along with the concerns over whether or not she'll be able to be a good mother "at her age."
How much harder it must have been for Mary to deal with the tut-tut's and tsk-tsk's when she, an even younger unwed girl, was expecting her firstborn in a day and time and society that was much harsher in their opinions of such situations. To me, it is no wonder that she went to stay with her cousin Elizabeth - with someone who not only was experiencing the same thing physically that Mary was, but who also could see beyond the physical and embrace the spiritual implications of the child Mary would bear. Elizabeth could shelter Mary from society's judgement, help her marvel at the wonder growing inside of her, and teach her the fundamentals of being a good mother regardless of her age.
But then, as now, God has the situation under control and knows just what He's doing.
I have a picture of Ethan, less than eight weeks old, laying on the floor in front of our tree during his first Christmas season. At the time, I called him the best surprise present we could have received. That has proven true in so many ways over the past six years.
But another baby, who is the Reason for the Christmas season, was the best surprise present that was ever given to all of mankind.
One is a ray of sunshine. The other is a Beacon of Hope.
One brings laughter and wonder. The other brings peace and joy.
One is my grandson. The other is my Savior.
They both had rough starts, being born of young, unmarried mothers.
And I can't imagine my life without either one of them.