My dear servants,
One day you will see beyond this world and all its fleeting sorrow. One day you will peer out into eternity, like I am doing right now, and you will see the infinite truth behind these now unfolding events. One day, my small creations, you will grasp the infinite significance of the birth of this tiny baby. And on that day, you, too, will see that there was no other way. Right now you are weary with exhaustion and bound with anxieties. I see Mary lying on some hay that Joseph has piled up in a corner of the barn. And I can hear her screaming in agony as your first tiny baby enters the world. Now things seem bleak. But one day, all will be brought to light. Until then, I will strengthen your faith.
I know the fear that welled up inside you, Mary, when you first realized that you were, in fact, pregnant, just as the angel had foretold. I am well aware of the paranoia that began to eat at your heart and mind. Yes, the angel had said… but… it cannot be! I have been faithful! There has been no other man! Has my own memory deceived me? Have I somehow fooled even myself into thinking that I am something I’m not, that is, pure? It was there in your weakness that I gave you strength. I increased your faith. And how great was that faith that I had worked in you! How bravely you conquered your doubt with my message that this was an act of the Holy Spirit, that I myself had done this thing! What great faith you showed, Mary, by submitting yourself, your reputation, and your body to my plan.
And I’m not blind to the host of temptations that you faced since then, either—temptations to doubt, temptations to lose faith, temptations to turn your back on your destiny. Even here and now as you lie in the filth of an animal stall, surrounded by the stench of dirty cows and sheep—in the very moment of the unfolding of my grand plan for the salvation of my precious children—your visions of angels, those holy messengers from the Most High God himself, have begun to fade. Were they real? Was the vision that I saw really from God? Was that man in shining white telling the truth? How can I be sure? And even now I will strengthen you. Even now I will make whole your incomplete faith. I won’t let you lose your faith.
And you, Joseph: I know the pain that you have faced as well in playing your part in my design. You love your Mary so much. I remember how the news of her pregnancy shattered your heart and shook your confidence in your betrothed at its very core. And yet even then you were upright in heart, not willing to shame the one you loved. It was then that I sent my angel to give you the same assurance that I had given Mary. It was then that I strengthened your faith. But the battles didn’t end there, did they. No. I saw. “You’re actually going to marry that whore?” they scoffed. You lost your integrity. Your good name was trampled and your family was shamed. And yet you obeyed my command.
Even in your trip to Bethlehem, your faith, at times, shriveled up in the dryness of doubt. The warmth of the angel’s presence grew cold, and the memory of his message grew faint. And now, as you gaze into the teary eyes of your beloved Mary as she gasps in the cold night air and screams in the pain of childbirth, I know your thoughts. I’ve tried to be faithful! I’ve made the trek to Bethlehem with my pregnant wife, and due to our slow pace, we’ve just now arrived, only to find every inn in town already full. Now we’re here—in a barn not fit for the animals it houses. The night air is cold, God, and I fear for Mary and our son! I thought he was yours, great God. Are you here with us, even in this bleakness? Yes, I’m here, my servant. I will strengthen your faith.
And as painful as it will be for you to realize and to live out, my precious servants, things will not become clearer as time goes on. You will make it through this night, and then you will have to flee your country and hide in Egypt. A multitude of other baby boys will die on account of him. And as you raise this baby in Nazareth, you will not understand him. Even more doubts will come. Is he really the Son of God? I know how feeble your memories are. But don’t worry. I will strengthen your faith.
There will be no more resolution once your little boy becomes a man. In fact, your heart will break anew as he begins to fulfill his purpose for entering the world. It will hurt you very much. There is no other way. You will watch him gain enemies in high places while he makes friends with the lowliest of society. Rumors will fly about him, and you will endure yet more ridicule. In those moments all your efforts to fulfill my great plan will seem foolish, and my promises will seem so distant. And yet, I promise you this night that I will strengthen you faith. I will be sure to do so.
The final blow will hit you hardest, Mary, mother of the world’s Messiah. You will watch as your son’s enemies finally accomplish their greatest ambition and hang your boy’s naked body on a Roman cross. You won’t understand. Your mind will swirl. You’ll cry out to me in that day. And I’m telling you that I will strengthen your faith.
And while the stillness of this sacred night offers absolutely no insight into the joy that is erupting in heaven and in my heart, one day you will understand. In all of these moments—his birth, his life, his death—I could very easily draw back the curtains of heaven and give you a glimpse into the eternal glory awaiting your precious boy and all those who treasure him above all earthly goods. Then you would never again battle the doubts and fears of this world. But that’s not how I work. One day you will see. You will see because I will show you in unveiled splendor, but not until you stand before me and all the world sees with you. Until that day, I will strengthen your faith. I authored it, and I will bring it to completion. And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.
In unfathomable love,
Your Father in heaven