2009-12-28 - How to Live Stress-Free
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19
When Mary was in the midst of labor, a very intense time in a woman's life, she was not contemplating a natural birth or an epidural. She lived at a time before the existence of hospitals, pediatricians, and birthing rooms. Her delivery room was a stable, as there were no rooms available in Bethlehem at the time. The ambiance consisted of the presence, sounds, and smells of animals. Mary did not have a homemade quilt or new blanket to wrap her newborn son.
Instead, she used strips of cloth. The closest thing to a bassinet was an animal feeding trough. A stable was probably not on her top ten list of places to deliver a baby, but at least it was a shelter. The arrival of Mary's baby Jesus was not what she expected. She did not seem forewarned or prepared to have her first child while traveling away from home.
Giving birth is a painful and exhausting, but also a life-affirming and incredible event. Mary was in a foreign place without family. Even though the experience was not what she probably pictured, the end result brought much happiness: a healthy child, a Savior for all mankind. The Gospel accounts of Jesus' birth do not indicate any conversations between Mary and her husband Joseph. Mary never sighs in disgust at Joseph for bringing her to Bethlehem. She takes everything in stride. Suppose the scene played out differently and Mary gave in to the stress looming around her. How much harder would it have been to relax when it came time for Mary to push?
Mary and Joseph were not at odds with each other. Instead they enjoyed the most important and miraculous event in their lives. In fact, when the shepherds came to view Jesus and then told others about the baby Savior, Mary kept silent and held the memories of His birth close to her heart. All that mattered was the baby's presence and how He came to the world to save all humanity.
Lord, Help me to keep disappointments and worries at bay and not let the stress of daily living wear me down. May I gain helpful lifestyle choices so that I can remain calm and happy. In Jesus' name, Amen.