Monday, December 19, 2016


more from Elder Holland:

"Mary, this most favored mortal woman in the history of the world, who as a mere child received an angel who uttered to her those words that would change the course not only of her own life but also that of all human history: 'Hail, thou virgin, who art highly favoured of the Lord. The Lord is with thee; for thou art chosen and blessed among women.' The nature of her spirit and the depth of her preparation were revealed in a response that shows both innocence and maturity: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.'

"It is here I stumble, here that I grasp for the feelings a mother has when she knows she has conceived a living soul, feels life quicken and grow within her womb, and carries a child to delivery. At such times fathers stand aside and watch, but mothers feel and never forget. Again, I've though of Luke's careful phrasing about that holy night in Bethlehem:

'The days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

'And she brought forth her firstborn son, and [she] wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and [she] laid him in a manger.' Those brief pronouns trumpet in our ears that, second only to the child himself, Mary is the chiefest figure, the regal queen, mother of mothers--holding center stage in this grandest of all dramatic moments. And those same pronouns also trumpet that, save for her beloved husband, she was very much alone.

"I have wondered if this young woman, something of a child herself, here bearing her first baby, might have wished her mother, or an aunt, or her sister, or a friend, to be near her through the labor. Surely the birth of such a son as this should command the aid and attention of every midwife in Judea! We all might wish that someone could have held her hand, cooled her brow, and when the ordeal was over, given her rest in crisp, cool linen.

"But it was not to be so. With only Joseph's inexperienced assistance, she herself brought forth her firstborn son, wrapped him in the little clothes she had knowingly brought on her journey, and perhaps laid him on a pillow of hay.

"Then on both sides of the veil a heavenly host broke into song. 'Glory to God in the highest,' they sang, 'and on earth, peace among men of good will.' But except for heavenly witnesses, these three were alone: Joseph, Mary, and the baby to be named Jesus."

Mary's birth experience was far different than mine, but it is not so different from that of many, many women all over the world even today. Consider donating to Healing Hands of Joy, a charity that helps to make motherhood safer for women in Ethiopia. Let's calm the storm like Jesus did and continue to Light the World.

beautiful print of a painting by Beth Allen

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