Last Updated on March 21, 2018

If your belly is lookinglike a bowl full of jelly, welcome to the “Pregnant at Christmas” club, where most of us are shaped a little like a cheeseball right about now.

I actually really enjoy this privilege (pregnancy, not the cheeseball look); I feel like it gives me a special “in” to identify with the Christmas story, and it’s certainly humbling. Being with child and meditating on Mary’s journey of faith brings a new perspective to morning sickness, the so-exhausted-I-feel-like-I’ve-been-run-over-by-a-truck exhaustion of the first trimester, then the “Is she pregnant or just overindulging in the Christmas cookies?” phase, then the grueling hours of labor. I keep remembering that Mary went all-natural with her very first labor and likely only a male carpenter (one who hadn’t seen her naked) to help her—her mom was out of town, and she may not have even had a midwife. She dealt with the questions a pregnant mother considers: How will I raise him? What will he be like? Whom will he look like? What do I do with this baby?

But Mary, “highly favored” by God, suffered things I never had to deal with: explaining to her parents that God had made her pregnant, dealing with the disgrace (after a life of faithfulness!) from a community that could have stoned her for her condition–and not only while she was pregnant, but raising an innocent son (the “illegitimate” child) in that reality. She also had a long ride on a donkey when she was about nine months pregnant, which sounds a little rough on the ol’ body, don’t you think?

I’m grateful for the special graces God gave her for this journey that would affect the rest of her life. I wonder how many times she revisited the appearance of Gabriel or her own words, “I am the Lord’s servant; may it be to me as you have said” when she was sick, or given one of “those looks” from a neighbor, or looking on as her son experienced capital punishment at age 33.

I’m also simply amazed at the form our Savior took on. For awhile he existed as only a few miraculous living cells, then was floating around inside a woman without arms or legs, then being entertained by an umbilical cord or thumb-sucking. It’s still amazing that the God of the universe came into our world through labor and delivery of a shamed woman’s body. He then submitted himself to a life beginning with dirty diapers, nursing, spitting up, and potty training.

Carrying a child in this season brings me a new degree of humility and gratitude! May you be filled with the expectation of His next, and far more glorious, appearance.

Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him … Philippians 2:8-9

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