It was anything but an idyllic, silent night on that cool Bethlehem evening when a scared teenager gave birth to the King of kings. Mary endured the pain of her baby’s arrival without the aid of anything more than the carpentry-roughened hands of Joseph, her betrothed. Shepherds may have been serenaded in nearby fields by angels singing praises to the Baby, but all Mary and Joseph heard were the sounds of animals, birth agony, and the first cries of God in baby form. A high-magnitude star shone in the night sky above the outbuilding, but the manger scene was a dreary place for these two out-of-town visitors.

As Joseph laid the infant in Mary’s arms, a combination of wonder, pain, fear, and joy must have coursed through her heart. She knew, because of an angel’s promise, that this tiny bundle was “the Son of the Highest” (Luke 1:32). As she peered through the semidarkness into His eyes and then into Joseph’s, she must have wondered how she was going to mother this One whose kingdom would never end.

Mary had much to ponder in her heart on that special night. Now, over 2,000 years later, each of us needs to consider the importance of Jesus’ birth and His subsequent death, resurrection, and promise to return.