Being pregnant during the season of Christmas gives a fresh and poignant meaning to the Christmas story.
Luke 2: 4-7 The Kings James Version says … ” And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.”
And Mary, being great with child… As far as being “great” with child, there are several meanings for the word “great”:
Great as in wonderful
Great as in large
Great as in significant.
I have felt all these meanings of “great” when I was pregnant, not necessarily at the same time or throughout my pregnancy. We have two daughters who are currently pregnant. Each expressed to me last week that she was feeling “great” as in “large”. Each is also past the first trimester, so they are not experiencing that tired or queasy feeling any longer – they are also feeling “great” as in wonderful. One of these pregnancies was “planned” by the parents – one was not.
I say planned by the parents because I learned something from a friend years ago. The Bob Bryan family had three older children and a gap of about 17 years and then another child. People often asked if this late-in-life baby was planned. Bob would answer “Yes, this baby was planned from the foundations of the world.” What a true and meaningful response!
Each baby is planned by God as stated in Jeremiah – “I knew you when you were formed in your mother’s womb.” There are no “accidents” in God’s plan for each life.
Mary did not plan her pregnancy – in fact the timing was very problematic. It took a visit to Joseph by an angel to validate the legitimacy of Mary’s pregnancy. She was also near the end of her pregnancy when her husband said that they must travel to Bethlehem. Before prenatal visits and ultrasounds Mary did not know her “due date”. Yet, God had it all prepared according to His plan. He knew just when and where His Son would be born. He had angels ready to announce it to the shepherds and placed an extraordinarily bright star to shine over the birthplace. Even though there was no room in the Inn, God chose a place that has allowed people from every tongue and nation to identify with the lowly birth of the Lord of Lords and King of Kings – Jesus.
In Luke 1: 46 -49 – Mary praises God for what the angel told her about her impending pregnancy.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
My spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed.
The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.”
As we celebrate this Christmas season, we can also celebrate the fact that each child we have is planned by God – through birth, adoption, or foster care. As Mary did, we praise God for the great things He has done, greatest of all sending His Son, Jesus.