Birth is messy. I’ve only experienced it from Joseph’s vantage point. (Only he didn’t have a camera to hide behind.) As a photographer, I’ve been invited into the sanctity of the birthing room on occasion. It’s there that I have quietly, breathlessly witnessed those miracle moments, which cannot be recreated. Each time, the experience moves me to tears. The unspoken intimacy between father and mother. The curtain of expectation hovering over every heart. The waiting…waiting…waiting.
And then there’s the breathing; plenty of breathing as Mom remembers how to breathe, and Dad breathes and counts alongside her. I find myself holding my breath as the birth moment finally arrives. It is surreal. Two adult hands reach out to hold a tiny head, support a little neck, and cradle that newborn person as it takes it’s own first breath, exhaling in a cry that means LIFE!Can you imagine Joseph’s joy as he reaches for that fragile newborn exiting the virgin womb of his young wife? Joseph, the chosen human father for the Savior of The World, holding his own breath as he comes face to face with the Son of God for the very first time. Blue collar Joseph supporting the tender neck of the King baby Jesus, handing him to Mary, cutting that umbilical cord with a none-too-sterile tool. Joseph – father in need of his Savior Son’s gift. How must it feel to deliver the child the whole world’s salvation depends upon? Did that tremendous pressure weigh on his trembling heart and hands as he played midwife that starry Bethlehem night? (Who else on Earth has held a divine expectation to be the best father ever?) Or did he simply enjoy the moment – smiling as he inspected God’s Son from head to toe in human flesh? Counting perfect little fingers and toes. Smiling to see that tiny nose so like his mama’s father’s.
God in human flesh. Little manger baby, Jesus. Can we wrap our minds around this gift today in the midst of the trees and candles and tissue paper? Can we find Jesus woven among the ribbons and wreaths? Is His sweet aroma filling our homes as the pies bake and the gravy boils? Can we, like Joseph take a moment to lift Him up and inspect His beauty? He is just perfect. And because of Him – his lowly birth, sinless life, painful death and glorious resurrection – our Heavenly Father can see us that way, too. Is Jesus’ gift of salvation under your “tree” today? Have you opened it yet? It truly is the greatest gift of all.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
Joseph’s eyes met Mary’s over the top of their baby boy’s smooth, round head. The gossip. The rumors. The lies. The fear. It all disappeared for a moment as they quietly celebrated the humble birth of the ONE who would redeem the things they thought were lost.
Thank you, Jesus, for becoming one of us so that we can become like YOU!