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
Dear Aunt Elizabeth,
Well the world has changed completely. Yesterday, while waiting for Joseph to return, the cramps and pains got more regular, and then there was water everywhere! I didn't know what to do! I did not want to have this child in a barn, among cows and pigs who were already disturbed by us. Joseph returned before I could completely fall apart with two wise women who really knew what to do. They sent him to the inn to gather cloths, fresh water and the innkeeper's wife. While he was out they examined me and told me I was close to delivery! I was shocked and certainly not prepared for that. The two women, Naomi and Sarah, were very comforting and supportive. I will never forget them! They got me into a comfortable position and then helped me breathe when the pains came on strong. I don't know how the time went by, nor did I care where I was, finally. I only wanted the baby to come and be born healthy. They helped me to feel safe despite being so far from home. They recited Psalms of David and helped Joseph by having him recite them too.
Oh Elizabeth, it was awful and wonderful all at the same time. The pain was wrenching and overwhelming, but then, as they guided my son out into the world, such joy swept over me. He was perfect and beautiful! As he gave his first cry, I too started to cry with such joy and thankfulness. Joseph joined us in a chorus of weeping. A little family watched over by the wise women, the cows and the pigs. I was tended to by the women - they cleaned me up, made sure I was healthy, and then they gave me something to eat. By then it was very late at night but I had lost all track of time!
Shortly after the women had gone home, we had other visitors. A group of shepherds, with their dogs and sheep in tow, stopped by to see the child. They told us a remarkable story. As they lay resting in the fields, angels visited them and told them about our little boy. They came running to tell us that he was the Prince of Peace. I got chills all over as they told us the angels used the same words that Angel Gabriel had used when he visited me. Despite these awful conditions and terrible timing, the child of God, the Incarnate God lies here sleeping in this humble stable. And I can hold him close and feel the sweet breath of God so close. I am so happy. We are so happy. What's next will just have to be up to God, since nothing I planned has worked out.
Much love to you from this humble, holy moment