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    Mary's Christmas
      By: Leda Winebarger
            I wonder how it must have been
         that  day at the manger as Mary
    her Son for the first time.

       Surely she must have believed,
        as any new mother believes, that
    she would always be able to
    guard Him against danger,
         that she would forever keep Him
      from harm. And God, knowing
   a mother's heart, protected
    Mary from the knowledge of
      the cross. How wonderful that
   first day with Jesus must
have been...

        Mary cradles her newborn Son,
     and rubs her cheek over the
     fluffy down of His hair, not
        realizing that one day a platted
     crown of sharp thorns would
       pierce His head there. As she
   gently wraps Him in soft
      swaddling clothes, she cannot
        imagine that all too soon, hate-
        filled soldiers would strip Him,
        spit on Him, and laugh at His
        shame. She rocks Him to sleep,
         softly singing a lullaby into His
        tiny ear, not hearing the cruel
   shouts of, "crucify Him!"
       Running her fingers over His
       soft shin, she cannot hear the
        whips crack as they fall upon
    Him, nor does she see the
        Blood that will flow freely from
     the wounds those whips will
      bring. And as she kisses His
        sweet cheek, she has no way of
       knowing that this same cheek
      will one day be kissed by a
     friend as he betrays Him.

       No, this is Mary's Christmas,
       and she is holding God's Gift
        to the world, her newborn Son,
      safely in her arms. Tenderly,
         she lays Him down as he opens
His eyes.

      My, I can't help but wonder
        how Mary must have felt when
      she looked for the first time
  into the eyes of....God...

         " Behold, a virgin shall be with
       child, and shall bring forth a
      Son, and they shall call His
       name Emmanuel, which, being
    interpreted is, God with us."
   Matthew 1:23

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