I started thinking, shortly after giving birth, how horrible it must have been for Mary to be pregnant –and pregnant with JESUS, no less– and to have been turned away everywhere and to be forced to give birth in a manger. And how hard it must have been for Joseph –who, in my opinion really earned his sainthood moniker that night– to try to be patient and helpful and perhaps even to help deliver a baby whom he knew from the first instant not to be his.
No check-in or preadmission. No nursies checking your vitals.
No fetal monitors. No contraction progression print-out thingies.
No epidural (not that I had one myself, but you know… I DID have the option). No jacuzzi to labor in, for that matter. No running water– it WAS a manger.
No stinging iodine solution. No forceps or vacuum. No scalpels for possible episiotomies.
No repair for tears –though I imagine Jesus must have been a relatively easy baby to birth. I mean, it’s the least he could be, being the Son of Man, you know? I don’t imagine he’d endanger his momma’s life or become distressed or swallow the Heavenly meconium or get tangled in his own cord or anything. After all, this was a special baby –an infant still to be sure, but a Divine infant nonetheless.
Just some hay, some animals– possibly camels, perhaps cows and donkeys. Maybe chickens? The cold, bitter night. And labor pains perhaps made rougher by a long ride by donkey.
And a child was born that night, and though we now know him not to be ordinary, that is how people were born in those days. And humanity somehow survived, which makes it that much more amazing and astounding.
Not that it could have been at least a little more dignified and less rough on Mary if there had been room at the inn, for starters.