Monday, December 20, 2010

Of Mary and the Stable

I've been thinking a lot of Mary lately.  I'm sure the snow-clad wreaths and the shimmer of lights from neighboring houses has been somewhat influential.  Regardless, I keep wondering about that night in the stable-forget that animals that were or weren't there breathing on the baby and giving him their wool for clothes, forget the sweet-smelling hay, forget all the sentimental things that make us sigh and forget that a woman just gave birth, and possibly alone.

Anyone who's been through labor, or seen labor, has to know it's not pretty.  Not in the least. I'm certain Mary's was no different.  Though her child was not conceived in the traditional way, it came into this world as any other (or so I think).

What really gets me, though, is that she was miles from home- miles from the women who would have attended her at the birth, who would have supported and encouraged her.

I can't help but think that some woman in the crowded town heard and rushed to her side.  Or that Joseph went to find some help.  I can't bear to think of her having to do that all alone.

Nor can I imagine being visited by a bunch of strange men with their cute little lambs shortly after giving birth.  I suppose it's a good thing God asked Mary do the Mother-of-God job.  I would have botched it.


  1. I have always thought that maybe Joseph - who was probably much older?- had experienced a few animals being born and helped her through it. I have a friend who has been to Israel, when she came back, she said that the inn wasn't a motel but a distant relative's house. She said that at the time there would have been many people around that the house. She learned from someone over there that the house would have only maybe had two rooms - one for men and one for women- and no rooms where Mary and Joseph could have been together. Perhaps- if that's the case- Joseph ran inside and got an aunt or cousin to come help? Interesting post!

  2. That sounds better. I know it was pretty taboo for a man to be present during a birth up until recent times. I do like the idea of him helping in some way, if only to run for help.

  3. I have often tried to contemplate the absolute misery which Mary must have suffered giving birth to her first child in a stable.
    Cringe. Shudder. Cringe again.
    Try to stop thinking about it.

  4. Wing it Mom, I head something similar on Issues, Etc. (perhaps last Christmas?) The inns had private residences attached for the innkeeper, and so he basically asked them into his home. Much like some early American farmers, the family shared their living quarters with some animals, and so the manger was handy cradle.

    Since the time came for her to deliver while they were looking for boarding, I wonder about laboring on a donkey! A long car ride to a hospital is bad enough!

  5. Maybe it was the long ride on a donkey that set things going?