This week I saw my four billionth version of the Christmas story. Even though the acting was beyond sub-par (five year old kids), it was still entertaining. Joseph looked bored. Mary looked shell shocked and the Wise Men stole the show by knowing all the words to the second stanza of We Wish You a Merry Christmas, which they heartily started singing at the end of the performance – totally impromptu I might add.
Speaking of Mary looking shell shocked, I never gave much thought to Mary during this time of year until I had kids. But, isn’t that always the case. It’s usually all about the baby. As for Mary, well as we say in the South, bless her heart. I can’t even imagine her situation. There she is a young woman, likely a teenager, minding her own business when a celestial being comes out of nowhere and informs her she’s going to have God’s baby. It didn’t matter she was betrothed to be married, the fact that she was pregnant and unwed in that time was grounds for stoning or at minimum being excommunicated from your family and/or community. To add insult to injury, when she’s huge and tired and cranky she had to ride to nowhere to register for some stupid government census. As if this weren’t the worst road trip in the history of mankind, they couldn’t find a decent place to stay just as her water breaks and she goes into labor. Can you imagine her fear? She’s in a strange town without the aid of her mom, sisters, aunts, ladies from her village, or a midwife and she’s about to have her first baby. She literally has nothing but herself, the guy she’s betrothed to, and a bunch of farm animals in a barn. I had a state of the art hospital and my husband was there and I was still pretty scared. I cannot wrap my head around how hard that must have been for her. And yet, she persevered, overcame, and did what she had to do. The fact that we know nothing more than what we do is a testament to the fact this story was written by a man. If we had Mary’s version, I’m sure we’d have a lot more detail. I haven’t met one woman who didn’t remember her kid’s birth story with extreme clarity.
Now that I have kids, I always think about Mary. I can’t help it. I think about her struggle. I wonder what would have happened if Mary had told that angel to go pound sand and leave her alone – to find another host mother. I wonder how she was so sure. I had a run of the mill pregnancy story and I wasn’t sure when I found out I was pregnant. It’s scary even if you are expecting it.
I’ll tell you one thing I am pretty sure of. If a little drummer boy showed up while the baby Jesus was sleeping she would have told him to stop that crazy drumming. And, if those wise men were really wise they would have shown up with a casserole and some diapers along with that gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Photo: This is part of my nativity scene at my house. I have wanted one of these injection mold sets since I was a small child. Over the years I’ve collected the whole thing. My husband built me this manger a few years ago. I love it.