Each year when we go Christmas caroling with friends, we sing, among other songs (I Wanna Hippopotamus for Christmas... My all-time favorite and a real crowd pleaser), the standard Silent Night. Tonight during my quiet time the song came to mind. It renders images of a serene couple, rolling with the punches at what is to be a very stressful time. Imagine traveling afar with a wife who was admittedly, according to scriptures is... "great with child." That phrase alone should dispel all images of a sweet young couple with no worries about being far from home, great with child AND basically... homeless. If you have ever traveled with a pregnant woman who is "great with child", I'm sure you'll agree that not being able to find a clean restroom can send raging pregnancy hormones into... Well a rage. I think we have Mary type cast as a meek and mild virgin who was so holy we rarely view her as human. Although Mary was absolutely chosen for her spiritual qualities, she was still very much human. When the couple couldn't find a room in the inn, I'm sure her mothering instincts which were probably already in high gear, turned into a manic urge to nest. Realistically, she was probably terrified at the predicament they found themselves in. She was away from her family during the most monumental time of her life, with a husband, she was still getting to know. I imagine the two, huddled in the hay. I imagine Joseph being white as a ghost in spite of his olive skin. I imagine beads of sweat on the holy mother's brow as cries of anguish slipped from her cracked lips in pain. I imagine him gently soothing her and whispering words of encouragement as he fervently prayed for divine intervention. What he couldn't see was the spiritual war erupting in high places. The roaring lion we read about in 1 Peter 4:8, was very much on the prowl during the birth of our Savior, and he wasn't alone.
I believe the heavenly host of angels did much more than proclaim tidings of great joy. I believe they surrounded Bethlehem as a heavenly shield. I imagine angels standing wing tip to wing tip around the couple as Mary "travailed in birth" . In my mind, mighty warring angels patrolled heaven and hell making sure hell's minions were viciously kept at bay while God's promise was fullfilled. I believe that holy night was anything but silent as swords clashed in a bloody spiritual conflict that left Satan gnashing his gnarly teeth at his impotence against the waring angels of God, and his inability at preventing prophecy from being fulfilled... Again! Was there peace? Oh absolutely, because God specializes in the kind of peace that passes our human understanding, but that in no way implies things were meek and mild, calm and collected, and it certainly doesn't mean things were silent. There was a lot going on in the little town of Bethlehem... If you look beyond the veil.