The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
Christmas is just around the corner. Can you believe it? 2010 has gone by so terribly fast and, to tell you the truth, it's been a whirl-wind of some of the best times I have had with my family ever! God has been good this year. And now, I get to celebrate Him on the 25th (not the only time I celebrate Him; it should be all year long).
So, in preparation for the birthday of our Lord and Savior (the time we choose to celebrate His birth), I want to present to you The Nativity Story. A wonderful way to celebrate the Christmas season! (Next year, I hope to put this into short story form).
The Angel Appears To Mary
There are many translations and renditions of the story of Christ's birth. While we can only speculate what the Virgin Mary was doing at the time the Angel appeared to her: walking through the farmer's market, walking in solitary on a secluded path in meditation, or tending to a garden (weeding and such). Though the Bible doesn't tell us exactly what she was doing, I have my own idea about the activity she was performing at the time the Angel revealed to her that she was the mother of Christ Jesus.
The day was warm and the sun, whose rays of immense warmth and vibrancy beamed down relentlessly upon Mary's back as she saw to the weeding of the walkway leading up to her family's homestead. Mary, a dutiful teenaged-girl, oozing with a cheery disposition, a warm heart, and a contagious smile, hummed to herself a melodious hymnal as she eagerly plucked the withered and weary sprigs of grass.
The ground that Mary struggled to remove of the grass from was of the driest substance-having it not rained one inch in weeks. Refusing to relinquish its mighty hold on the weeds, Mary was forced mercilessly tug and pull the persnickety blades of grass. With a spurt of genius, Mary ran quickly to the well stationed a yard or two off in the eastern direction of where she was positioned, and drew a bucket of cool, sweet water.
"The one thing that is still free in this world." Mumbled Mary as she hauled the water over to the spot where she'd been weeding moments ago. The prices of goods had been steadily on the rise since the Romans had proclaimed their superiority of all Israel. And the taxes were being driven higher, so high in fact, that Mary and her family found it harder and harder to afford the necessities of life. "Those Romans lack any sensitivity our situation. Do they not know how we suffer? Because of the taxes they impose on us and the prices they so selfishly raise, we are hardly able to purchase the basic necessities of life."
Turning her attention back to her task waiting, Mary returned to her station of activity, got down on her knees, and drew a deep breath. As she exhaled, she closed her eyes. Calm once again came over her. For so long had she been stressed over the coming of the Romans and their demand for higher taxes, that she had taken little time to enjoy life's little pleasures. She intended to enjoy her time outside, and would put aside her bitter thoughts. "What good will come to me if I continue to be angry at the Romans? The Lord has blessed me with a beautiful day, thus, I will not let them take away my happiness and the joy given to me by my God."
Upon wiping her forehead with the back of her hand, Mary proceeded to pour the bucket of water onto the craggy ground. Like a thirsty man thirsts for water, the ground soaked up the water with little effort until it became so saturated with the water that it began to transform into a soggy, muddy mess.
This was ideal for Mary who had, before this time, been struggling to pull up the stubborn weeds from the scaly earth. From her attempt to weed the dry ground, she had received several scrapes and cuts to her hands-her finders were a blistered mess. However, with the ground now moistened from the water, Mary could proceed without fear of scaring her hands.
As Mary weeded her way down the long walkway towards the street and away from the house, her mother came out of the dwelling. "Mary! Mary!" her mother exclaimed as she fluttered in the air an old kitchen rag. "Joseph is to arrive very soon to deliver the bread bowl he had promised to me a fortnight ago. Please go and wash yourself up; hurry Mary he may stay for supper!"
Without stopping to answer, Mary jumped to her feet and made her way swiftly to the well to wash her hands. Mary's hands, crusted with the mud, were a distasteful sight. "I can't let Joseph see me like this!" Mary proclaimed with nervous anticipation.
Placing her saturated bucket onto the hook, that was to deploy it into the well, she couldn't help but feel star-struck but the very thought that Joseph was to arrive at her home any moment. Joseph was coming; she must be presentable. No. Perfect. In part, the nerves that swarmed around her tummy like dancing butterflies were partly due to her not wanting him to see her in her present, filthy condition. It was also due to her infatuation with him as her betrothed. The man she was pledged to be married to.
Mary brought the bucket back up and rested it on the ledge of the well. Then, with a quick movement, she placed it onto the ground and commenced the washing of her dirty hands. The water was pleasantly cool as Mary scrubbed dreamily at the crusted mud. Washing her hands free of the mud, Mary went for another bucket of water; this time to wash the perspiration from her face.
Drawing in the water from the well for the second time Mary, who was wistfully gazing off into the horizon, failed to notice a figure clothed in splendor standing behind her. "Greetings," said a commanding, yet humble voice. Mary, expecting the voice to be that of Joseph, whirled around with excitement. However, to her great alarm and confusion, and was shocked when she saw a glowing stranger standing firm in front of her. Mary’s hands leaped to her mouth to stifle to loud gasp; in doing so, Mary let go of the water bucket, which in turn, allowed the water to spurt forth with force, wetting Mary’s dusty skirt and feet.
“…you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Continued the stranger, who was the least bit alarmed by Mary’s lack of composer. Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. She knew the figure not and found herself feeling strangely uncomfortable, to the point of being afraid, with the appearance by the angel. Sensing her apprehension, the angel said to Mary, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered Mary with an air of importance, for his message to her was one that would change her life and the course of history forever. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”
Astonished and unable to comprehend the words that the angel had just spoken to her, Mary, unable to say much, said this: “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered in meekly. “May it be to me as you have said.” And as soon as the angel had appeared, he left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth