Several weeks before having my first child, I painstakingly took time to write out a multi-page birth plan. It included everything from the oils I wanted diffusing in the labor room to who would cut the umbilical cord. I even translated it into French because my husband and I were stationed overseas at the time, and I wanted to ensure there were no missteps in communication.
When the time came for my daughter to be born, nothing went according to plan. The playlist of music I had prepped for labor was never played. I was too busy throwing up into my husband’s lap from the intensity of the contractions to put my ear buds in. When she finally arrived, it took a little bit to get her lungs cleared and breathing, so my husband didn’t get to cut the umbilical cord.
Life and circumstances had completely overturned my plans. So when it came time for the birth of my second child, I got wise and simplified my birth plan to just four words: Give me an epidural. Thankfully, that time, it was a success.
Which brings me to this pressing question as we enter the Christmas season: Did Mary have a birth plan?
If she did, it probably went something like this: Try not to go into labor on the donkey. Find a safe place to deliver…four walls would be great.
This was definitely no 5-star birth plan. In fact, it was never in Mary’s original plans to be pregnant to begin with. Mary never expected an angel to visit her and give her the news that she had been chosen to be the mother of Jesus. She likely didn’t expect Joseph to believe her when she broke the news that she was a) pregnant, b) had not cheated on him, and wait for it…c) was still a virgin.
And if things weren’t already stressful enough with everyone in town judging Mary for an out-of-wedlock pregnancy and Joseph for standing by her, Caesar decided it was a good time for a census…forcing a very pregnant Mary to make an arduous trip by donkey to Bethlehem, just in time to get there, go into labor and have there be no room in the inn.
So, yeah…any birth plans Mary might have had were failing big time.
Thankfully, God’s plans never fail. His provisions were in place in the midst of the chaos and stress—and out of that came His greatest blessing for us: a precious bundle of peace, love, joy…and hope.
“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10-11.
His birth plan involved a hay-filled manger, a humble stable, some shepherds, a bright star and a heavenly host of angels.
It was perfect. It was glorious. It was everything He planned it to be, and nothing Mary—or the world—expected it to be.
It ended up being the most successful birth plan ever. And it’s a good reminder to us all that even when things don’t go as expected…when life interrupts our plans…that great blessings can still come out of them.
The greatest, in fact.
Happy birthday, Jesus… and Merry Christmas, friends.