Heather Leppard (Winchester)
‘You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
I remember family and friends flocking to our house after both our children were born. It feels the natural response to come and meet the new child. The smiles across their faces as they met their nephew and niece, grandson and granddaughter, great grandson. I remember taking our children to church for the first time, aged just 8 days and 4 days respectively, and the joy of the church community at meeting them. It’s amazing how much joy a tiny human being can bring to so many people.
Mary’s story that we hear today is quite remarkable. At such a young age, she has been so open to God’s blessing upon her life, and now she cradles in her arms, God, who has come to earth as a vulnerable baby to be with us all.
I can’t quite imagine how it must have been for her; a first-time mother, just given birth, away from her hometown, and now beginning that journey of discovery of how to look after a new-born, when suddenly all these unknown shepherds descend upon her. They’ve heard those words of the angel: “Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” and hurried to meet him.
So now Mary joined by strangers around the manger! But rather than closing the door, or letting in family only, she has such a generosity to heart to share this new-born child with all who come to visit. She allows them to share in her joy. She seems, at such a young age, to have grasped the generosity of God, not just for her, but for all people, and it is so wonderfully contagious.