Several years ago, while on a mission trip to Nicaragua, we were visiting a mother and infant hospital. Each mother was given a layette which we had prepared at home. In the event of twins or triplets, each infant was given a layette complete with receiving blanket, diapers, pins, shirts, socks, and other newborn necessities.
These were gratefully received, and frequently represented the only thing the mothers had for their newborns.
We always visited the neonatal ICU and prayed with the mothers who were staying at the hospital awaiting their next opportunity to hold and nurse their infants.
One mother who captured my heart was just 13 years old. She had a critically ill newborn and no family support. She also had no place to go when the infant was released from the hospital. In that culture, a baby born out of wedlock is not welcomed into the family and neither is its mother, though very often the pregnancy results from rape or from a family member. Therefore, she had no home.
A very young teenager with a critically ill baby and no place to go. What could she do? The country has no welfare system. We could pray for her and provide a layette but there was nothing else we could do.
I wish there were a “Paul Harvey” happy ending to this story, but that’s not true. The child mother worried and prayed as she tried to find a way to solve her problems.
About two thousand years ago, another teenage mother gave birth in a stable in Bethlehem. Circumstances could not have seemed much worse to Mary. When they arrived in Bethlehem after their arduous trek, all the inns were full.
The only shelter they could find the night her infant would be born was that stable. It had not been cleaned up for human occupancy so it smelled of animals but it did provide shelter of a sort. With only Joseph for any help she might need, and animals as witnesses, Mary give birth to Jesus. Strips of cloth she had brought from home comprised her layette.
This mother, though betrothed to Joseph, was also unmarried. However, both Mary and Joseph had been told through angelic messengers of this upcoming pregnancy in fulfillment of the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” So, they were as prepared as anyone could have been to welcome into their family a son who was truly the Son of God!
Today, because of His birth, His life, His crucifixion, and His resurrection, you and I have the privilege of welcoming Jesus into our very own lives. He lived among men as an example for us and then died the cruel death of the cross to pay for our sins. All that is left for us to do is recognize and accept Him as our very own Savior.
The ending of this story is far better than any “Paul Harvey” ending for it takes us right into the very throne-room of heaven.
There is no better time to accept Jesus as Savior or to draw closer to Him than now as we celebrate His birth.
Have a blessed and merry Christmas.
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