A baby is born and immediately the news is out there by whatever electronic means is available. I sometimes wonder what Mary and Joseph thought when Jesus was born, knowing who he was and yet no-one was there to share this momentous occasion. Of course, little did they know that a star was shining for the benefit of the wise men in another part of the world, and in the near vicinity, angels were telling the shepherds of the Messiah’s birth and where they could find him. Now that form of communication is just a bit more spectacular than any electronic device of today!
I have noticed the word ‘Hope’ used this Christmas in Christian literature and what a wonderful word that is. When a baby is born; mother and baby are doing well and the initial excitement of the moment has settled, anticipation for the future of this baby is there, if not verbalised, then the thought is not far away and why not. We always want the best future for a new baby.
Once again, I wonder how Mary felt about her baby’s future. Apart from the name ‘Jesus’ ( in Greek, meaning God saves) the prophet Isaiah had already called him “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace” ( Isaiah 9:6) Isaiah also named him “Emmanuel” ( Isaiah 7:14) meaning ‘God with us’. What names to live up to! How would a parent cope with that expectation of their baby? And then there was Simeon’s prayer on seeing the promised Messiah, and Anna was just as thrilled, both people putting further expectations on this baby’s future. No wonder God sent an angel to give Mary the news of her being chosen as the mother of the promised Messiah – I guess she drew on the memory of that visit many a time and the promise that “with God, nothing is impossible”. Having a perfect child in a normal family setting would have been a challenge, and then there were the highs and lows of different people’s reaction to his message.
This little child Jesus was the hope of all who recognised him – were they disappointed?