The Gospel According to Mary—the Birth
A Dramatic Monologue
(Mary speaks as if she is entertaining a group of admirers some time after the death and resurrection of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost. She still ponders things in her heart.)
Ah! Come in. Come in. (indicating some available spot) Here—there is room right here! Room for all of you! Come in. Come in. So you’ve met him. You’ve been touched by Him—changed forever, no? He came and walked among us in peace. They took Him and—well, you know what they did. But He defeated them—and death in the bargain! He left us and sent us His Spirit to live in us. Now he walks the earth in us!
So you want to hear again about how He came into this world? I’ve told you so many times, I would think you would be tired of …? No? Well, neither, am I, to tell you the truth! I’ve…pondered… these things in my heart since that night, all those years ago now, when the angel Gabriel—yes!, an angel! I can see the amazement in your eyes. I was amazed, too. You see, there was nothing special about me—no, really, nothing special at all—you err if you think otherwise. I was a good girl, I suppose, but so were many of my friends. I don’t know why He chose me only that He did.
And my Joseph, was he surprised! How would you like to have to explain why you are with child to the man you love and who loves you and you and he had never…Well it was no easy thing to do, I tell you. I probably didn’t tell it too well, actually. Joseph didn’t believe me, especially the part about the angel. But can you blame him? He knew the facts of life and my story didn’t square (lining up two “objects” with her hands) with the facts of life. And Joseph, being a carpenter, knew when things didn’t line up, angel or no angel. I have to tell you, that hurt. There was something in me that thought he ought to believe me no matter how little sense I made. (Stops for a moment, wondering if that is what she really wanted to say.) You understand what I mean, don’t you ladies? Men ought to just believe what we tell them and not try to (repeats gestures) line everything up!
Well, I was hurt and he was mad; then I got mad and he was hurt—it was a mess, I tell you! Then Gabriel visited him. Not a minute too soon, to my thinking, Joseph was about to have me put away! I must say I was cold to him when he came around like a guilty little boy. He had the hardest time telling me about Gabriel. Anyway, Joseph now believed me and what a relief! I needed him. God didn’t want me to have to go through this alone. Men, please save yourselves the embarrassment of having to have an angel visit you—just believe us the first time, right ladies
Just as things were beginning to settle down, as much as they ever would with all the talk in the town, Caesar decides to have a census. Now, you must understand, Joseph was like any other man, only more so. He wanted to control every aspect of our lives. But there was nothing he could do about a Roman census! We had to go. It was painful for me to make such a journey at such a time, but it was also painful to watch Joseph struggle so with things he could not control. It hurt me to see him hurt so. Now, it is easy to see that God had a plan for it all—the Christ had to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David. But for those of us who lived through all God’s arrangements it wasn’t always so pleasant.
Then, when we finally arrived at Bethlehem, there was no place for us to stay. This was almost more than Joseph could bear. We finally found lodging in a stable behind an inn. It was warm and dry and the animals made it—interesting. My time had come and so had the pains. Joseph was wonderful. He had prepared for this moment and knew just what to do. That was the way he lived his life, you know. He was careful and prepared. I watched him raise Jesus that way: careful in the carpenter’s shop and prepared for life. Joseph did right by me that night. The birth was painful, of course, but we were together in it all and soon Jesus was born.
It was so strange to hold him and be the first to look at that face that many of you have seen as well. I wanted to show Him off but the cows and camels were not very interested. That seemed wrong, somehow. Someone ought to notice so great a thing
I didn’t know it, of course, but on a hillside nearby, shepherds were seeing angels and hearing instructions to find us. Soon, the stillness of the night was broken by a knock at the stable door. Joseph went to the door to protect us, as any good man would. The shepherds told us of the angels and asked to see the child. Joseph let them in. I will never forget the light that shone on each dirty, shepherd face. I was tempted to think that this was just a small step above the animals but as I did I felt the Lord’s rebuke in my heart—these were people He had chosen, just as He had chosen Joseph and me and it wasn’t up to me to approve or disapprove, but to…ponder. The lowest of society, not skilled craftsmen like Joseph, but the poorest of the poor, who were also visited by angels, witnessed the entrance of God’s Son into the world. God has His purposes.
You’ve heard about the kings who came, haven’t you? Well, animals and shepherds weren’t enough for God to say what He wanted to say. Jesus had not only come to the skilled workers in the middle of things, and the poor laborers at the bottom of things, but also for the rich and “important” on top of things. Wisemen with crowns and jewels found us, too, led by a star to where we were. Their gifts were priceless and did they come in handy! But more than their gifts, their worship touched me. Just as the shepherds were uplifted by the presence of my Son, these mighty men were humbled by Him.
It was all, that first night, just as I have seen in the many years since: Jesus changes people for the better. If they need to be taken down a notch or two, He’s the one to do it. If they need to be lifted up because life has beaten them down, He’s the one to do it. What he does is (the lining-up gesture) just what Joseph taught Him to do—line us up with the Word of God! What we need is there, in the Word. Jesus just applies it to our lives. Now, tonight, He may want to do a little alignment work on you—to lift you up or bring you down some so that you will be a better person. Don’t be afraid—He’s careful and prepared. We are always safe in His skillful hands.
© 2016 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved