Courage: How Could They Know?

by Peggy Houston Henderson

News spread that the young girl was not married when she conceived the child. 

howcouldtheyknowMary knew the conception was a miraculous act of the Holy Spirit. Still, she would surely be scrutinized when her pregnancy became apparent. Because he was righteous and honorable, Joseph, the man to whom she was engaged, took her as his wife to protect her from the stigma that was sure to follow.

At the edge of Bethlehem, a newborn’s cry was heard coming from a stable. The child’s birthplace meant “house of bread,” a title befitting the one who would be the Bread of life. The parents had been told He was a special child, but how could they understand the full implications of that announcement?

How could they know they would soon have to hide their son in a foreign land? How could they know, in the years to come, He would not retaliate when His own life was threatened, for He had “come to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10)?

Perhaps they envisioned their firstborn back in Nazareth, learning His earthly father’s trade. How could they know He would instead build something of lasting splendor, an eternal Kingdom seen only with spiritual eyes?

How could they know this child would one day perplex His teachers with questions, yet in time, teach great truths to His followers? How could they know He would walk on water, heal the sick, and raise the dead?

How could they know He would embark on a three year mission to take a message to a hostile world? Had they known, they might have pressed Him even closer as they kissed His brow.

They were familiar with Isaiah’s words that the Messiah would be “stricken … afflicted … pierced … crushed because of our iniquities” (Isa. 53:4-5), but how could they know their child would endure a horrible death?

How could they know? There was only one way — faith. They believed the message from the angel Gabriel: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David … and His kingdom will have no end” (Luke 1:32-33).

That night in Bethlehem, they looked not upon an ordinary child, but upon the King of kings!

Peggy Houston Henderson and her husband live in Haslet, Texas near their four children and 12 grandchildren. A former high school teacher, Peggy has been published in several periodicals and is currently writing a novel.

matureliving0713This article originally appeared in the December, 2012 issue of Mature Living. Subscribe


  1. Cynthia Powell says:

    Thank you for this article. I used it in my Sunday School Lesson. Very well written.
    Sincerely and Merry Christmas!

Speak Your Mind