Day Eight: The Birth

James B. Janknegt, The Holy Family, 30x30 inches oil on canvas, 2006

Used with permission all rights reserved. To purchase prints or original artwork please visit the artist’s site.

“Do not be afraid to take her home as your wife,” the angel told Joseph.  What did Joseph think when he heard those words?  He probably was unsure what his life would be like; most people who get married don’t have any real concept of what lies ahead.  But not only is Joseph getting married, he is becoming a father, too.  And the birth of a child is the start of a new life—a new life for the parents, that is.  Everything changes.  The baby demands full-time attention.  He needs to be fed and cared for.  He must be changed, burped, and rocked to sleep; held when he cries—even when the child is the son of God.  For us, the baby being born is the climax of the Christmas story.  But for Mary and Joseph it was just the beginning.  They were now a family.  There had been angels and prophecies, and the shepherds and wise men were yet to come.  But now it was time for Mary and Joseph to forge the life that they would share together.  It was time to settle into a routine.


Often the Christian life is like that.  We invite Jesus into our heart and we are reborn.  It feels like the climax of the story—and in one sense it is—but in another sense it is just the beginning.  Ahead of us lies a long journey of following Christ, faithfully putting one foot in front of the other.  There may be times of angels and prophecies, shepherds and wise men in our life as well.  But the test of our faith comes in the “routine.”    I can do almost anything for a short period.  But I prove myself faithful in the day-in and day-out business of living.  So, each day I must surrender to God and allow him to accomplish his will in me.  And when I am successful at doing that I find that though I expect God in the big events, he is often most present in the small details of life.


God with me lying down,
God with me rising up,
God with me in each ray of light,
Nor I a ray of joy without Him,
Nor one ray without Him.


Christ with me sleeping,
Christ with me waking,
Christ with me watching,
Every day and night,
Every day and night.


God with me protecting,
The Lord with me directing,
The Spirit with me strengthening,
For ever and for evermore,
Ever and evermore, Amen.
Chief of Chiefs, Amen.

Carmina Gadelica,an anthology of ancient Celtic Prayers *