When we imagine Mary making the journey to Bethlehem, we think of her as waiting for the Christ child. But she wasn’t waiting for Him. She was the only person who wasn’t waiting anymore. Yes, she was waiting for His birth, but she already knew Him. And not only did she know Him, but she knew Him in a way that only she could. With each of my daughters, I have enjoyed getting to know them before birth — getting to know their patterns of movement, what sounds they respond to, how often they sleep. Likewise, my daughters are getting to know me, nestled beneath my heart and listening to its beat.
And that was the relationship that Mary and Jesus had at this stage in her pregnancy. On the journey to Bethlehem, He was a full-term baby, ready to be born any day. His little ears worked perfectly, and she was the one that He, in His human nature, knew best. He knew the sound of her voice. He knew the cadence of her voice in conversation and the rhythm of it in song. He fell asleep to the sound of her heartbeat. He swallowed his amniotic fluid, in preparation for drinking her milk.
And she knew Him already, better than anyone else on earth. She knew the feel of his little kicks. She knew the pattern of his little hiccups. She felt him roll over in her belly and knew the feeling of each knobbly limb as it poked at her stretched out skin.
And joined together for nine months as they were, his DNA forever after coursing through her veins and hers through his – Mary experienced a union with him unlike any union between him and another human before or since.
Recently, I heard a priest refer to the line in Luke that says that, after the Annunciation, the angel departed from Mary. He referenced it to highlight how alone she was, and how much she had to just trust in God, without consolation.
But Mary wasn’t alone.
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