(ROCKWALL, TX — December 18, 2017) Have you noticed the characters in Christmas? We have romanticized the sights and smells, but I think the reality of the scene needs to be re-noticed. Yes, there are angels and glory, awe and surprise, but there is also fear and isolation.
Jesus was not born in a palace. He could have been. He was a Baby born King, but the Advent of His birth took place in a stable. Have you been in a stable? You have to watch where you step. The ones I’ve been in have mice & rats waiting for a drop of corn from the bucket. Somehow mice are cuter than rats, but they are there just the same.
It’s an open building, drafty. Somehow animals in a stable are supposed to be immune from the elements blowing through. Humans are not.
This stable didn’t have electricity. The Labor Room was not equipped with clean sheets, a blanket warmer, or a doula. Can you imagine this young couple having to deliver their baby in a stall with animals looking on? No midwife, no Mother to hold her hand, only this man named Joseph that no one ever hears a word from.
And oh, by the way, it was a 90-mile walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem…uphill. I’ve been 9-months pregnant once (actually only 8 months. I had them 5 weeks early. And on that subject, why can’t we count pregnancy in months anymore? What’s up with counting in weeks? Too much math for me.) And by the way, somebody made up the donkey part. We always see Mary riding on a donkey, don’t we? It’s not in the Bible, but it looks good on Christmas cards!
Don’t you suppose Mary and Joseph in the throws of things were questioning, “What did that angel say again? Did I really hear what he was saying correctly? Is this really the way God planned it? We’re so alone with no one to help us through this delivery! We have no idea what’s in involved in birthin’ a baby, Miss Scarlet!!!!”
Could they have found a midwife? Could the inn keeper have brought in some clean linens to wrap The Newborn? Was there fresh straw that had not been trampled by hooves, not soiled? Did she cry out during labor? Was it a long labor like most first-borns? Was there embarrassment on Joseph’s part at seeing his bride in this new position…one of strain, delivering a baby having never known her intimately.
Alone, it was just the two of them, accomplishing the impossible, fearing that humanly they would be unsuccessful. But I suppose a Baby was going to come with or without human help. He was conceived without human effort, and in spite of their youth or humanity, Jesus was born…in a stable…in Bethlehem…in the midst of those sights and smells…a King was born.
The Baby born King will come again someday. The circumstances will not be in loneliness or fear. His coming will be very public. I pray you’ll be watching…and waiting…expecting.
By Paula Lively. Paula is a Volunteer Chaplain at Broadmoor Medical Lodge in Rockwall. She is a VERY retired RN who loves serving the residents at Broadmoor. She and her husband, Fred, have lived in Rockwall for 15 years
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