In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for see-- I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!"
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:1-20
Our baby has arrived! I didn't think I would survive the birth, the pains coming so fast and so intensely. The local women helped me through, kind strangers who knew what to do for me and Joseph. They felt for us and guided us step by step, although it seemed to last forever, this labor. They helped me to sit up and to breathe through the pains and I tried to be brave but sometimes I cried out. But at the end he came quickly, and he is healthy and beautiful. Everything that was before, all the pain and fear disappeared as we clung to each other and wept with joy. I guess every parent feels this way, so grateful and astonished at what beauty and love has come into the world. All our troubles faded away as we looked into his dark eyes and watched his hands tiny open and close. Such wonder and surprise.
A very strange thing happened just as we had settled in for our night's rest. The door of the stable was opened wide and many men and animals crowded in. We thought at first they were going to make us leave. Instead, they told us that angels had visited them and they came running to find our little baby. They wanted to carry the words that God had sent them - how this child is the long expected savior of the world. They stood and sang songs of joy and thanksgiving, sharing with us their food and their stories. Each in turn wanted to tell us how afraid they were at first and how delighted they were to find us. Once they had left we talked about how God's promises had come true despite all the trouble we have faced. I finally fell asleep after thanking God from brining us finally to this place, after so much challenge and fear.
Elizabeth, I already understand that I probably won't have time to write anymore. Our sweet Jesus demands all my time and attention. Please send someone to Momma and tell her we are find. She has a beautiful grandson! We still have to find a place to be for a time while the baby gets strong enough for us to make our return home. So far, the innkeeper has been very kind, although the commotion with the shepherds almost sent him over the line. He calmed down when we shared some of the food and treats the shepherds had brought to us. I will write again when I can. For now, give thanks that all is well and God has seen us through!!
O God, you make us glad by the yearly festival of the birth of your only Son Jesus Christ: Grant that we, who joyfully receive him as our Redeemer, may with sure confidence behold him when he comes to be our Judge; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.