Thursday, December 23, 2010
Back to the Stable
Over the past couple of days, my Christmas thoughts have travelled back to the stable: where it all began. Sure, we don't know exactly what time of day Jesus was born, or even exactly which day he was born, but either way, it happened. Our Saviour was born, and we celebrate his birth at Christmas.
We know that a pregnant Mary, along with Joseph, travelled to Bethlehem to comply with a Roman census. We know that when they looked for a place to stay, the inn was full, so they were given the stable.
In my mind, probably like most, I picture the nativity scene - Mary and Joseph gazing adoringly at their little new bundle of joy, the Son of God, in a stable.
I started to wonder about some details. Sure, I'll never know about these things, but it's still fun to ponder them:
I wonder if before Mary and Joseph set off on their journey, Mary's mother gave her some woman-to-woman advice: "Now, Mary, when it's time to give birth, you'll feel contractions...and they will HURT. When those contractions are really close together, like less than a minute apart, you are probably going to be ready to push." Or, "When you're in labour, remember to breathe in with your nose, out with your mouth." Or, "You'll have to check to see how dilated you are, and when you are close to 10 cm (or whatever their unit of measurement was!), start to push like you've never pushed before!"
Was Mary afraid? Probably not. God was with her - knitting His Son being together in her womb - how could she avoid feeling an overwhelming sense of peace?
Did Mary have a long labour, or a short one? I can only assume that the labour wasn't all that bad - the Son of God must have made things easy on her. What about Joseph? Did Mary tell him, "Joseph, you have to check to see how dilated I am! CHECK!" I wonder if Joseph, in an I-have-no-idea-what-to-do manner, ran to the innkeeper for help when Mary was in labour. Did they collect some women who were staying at the inn for assistance? I can just picture a plump, matronly mother of eight marching to the stable and taking charge - sending volunteers in all different directions for hot water and clean linens, and wiping Mary's forehead with a cool cloth. Maybe the stable was buzzing with activity.
I bet the birth was straightforward (Jesus probably wasn't a breech baby) and I doubt there would have been any complications (of course God made sure that His Son was born without difficulty!) Who cut the cord? I wonder if Joseph did. I wonder if he was excited to cut the cord, or a little nervous.
What about the animals (the "friendly beasts")? Some people argue that animals have a keen sense of the spirit world, unlike most humans do. Did they sense that something supernatural was happening within their stable? I mean, the Son of God in human form was right there, in the cow's manger. What was their reaction?
Wow. Can you imagine being there and witnessing this glorious event? Wow.