Do you ever wonder why we give people gifts to celebrate the day they were born? I do.
I remember my first born son’s first birthday, like it was yesterday. We had a big dinner and dessert, invited over family and friends, and threw a party. I ordered a Barney cake, and cooked a feast. We played games, and he got a ton of gifts, he would never appreciate or comprehend at 12 months old…
I remember sitting there on my donut pillow I had been sitting on since his birth, thinking I had endured 24 hours of hardcore labor, the epidural didn’t take and after 2 1/2 hours of pushing, he wouldn’t move through the birth canal. They had to use high forceps and vacuum extraction to pull him from my body. I tore front to back and had the a ridiculous stitches to prove it. He sprained both my sacroiliac joints and broke my tailbone with his head on the way out.
I sat there thinking, I had done all the work, grew a human being inside of my own body, threw up multiple times a day for 7 months. He was like a parasite stealing calcium and iron from my body to build his. He had colic for 6 months. He was always hanging off of one tit. He seldom slept and I had severe post partum – where the hell was my spa day and freaking treats? I was the one who did the work…
People tell you a load of crap when you are pregnant – like how you will forget the pain once your child is in your arms? I call BS – it’s been 26 years and my ass still hurts if I have to sit in the car for longer than 20 minutes.
It’s the Mama’s that deserve the party, the gifts and even a freaking medal.
So every Christmas Eve, as many prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, my thoughts always go to Mary and what she must have endured that night.
Travelling by foot or a donkey 9 months pregnant. Her husband didn’t even book a dang room or Airbnb, and even though her water had broke and she was in full blown labor; no one was willing to give up their bed for one night, so that that poor girl could use a washroom and get some rest in between contractions.
Instead, she laboured and delivered in a barn with cows, sleep and mice, on a bed of hay! You would think the mother of royalty, of a king, would deserve better care and perhaps some pain medication?
Having your first child is hard, as is the months leading up to it.
You don’t know what to expect as a new Mom. No one told me labour and delivery would be so brutal, or that I would get mastitis 4 x, that my hair would fall out or that my breasts would feel like 2 boulders that were about to burst. No one told me how long it would take to recover and for my hormones to return to normal. My kids were all born in hospital with a nurse by my side, ice chips and warmed blankets.
I can’t imagine Mary was particularly happy about any her unplanned pregnancy….
And Joseph, damn we don’t give him enough credit either. I’m sure he said to God – WTF you want me to marry this girl who’s being slut shamed all over town, and raise a kid that’s not mine?
We tend to focus on the after – that baby all snug as a bug in a rug of a manger, with people traveling from far and wide to bestow him with gifts. That barn looks pretty cute up on the altar, all lit up….Mary dressed in her finest garb, hair combed, make up on, with a smile on her face.
I suspect it was fake and what she really wanted was for all this unannounced company to just go freaking home.
God chose a innocent young 13 year old girl to bring the messiah into the world. I’m sorry but if God had gifted me with that – I would have taken it back and got a refund. But she didn’t.
She put aside all her own hopes and dreams for the future, to honor her calling. That’s ALOT of expectations to put on a tween…When I was her age, I was still secretly playing Barbies in my room!
So today is Jesus’s birthday, but I always think of Mary first! She endured the pain of child birth alone. And Mary endured the pain of his agony at the foot of the cross, as he was taken from her in his 30’s, before she would ever have a grandchild. She witnessed the most horrific of deaths of her own son.
Isaiah had prophecies of his arrival, some 450 years beforehand calling him “ Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty, the Prince of peace and King of kings.” I suspect Mary thought her situation would look a whole lot different then it actually did. I mean, if your going to give birth to a miracle from God himself, I personally would have been pissed, at the living quarters.
And it wasn’t all fine and dandy, after that ordeal either. There were those who wanted her son dead, so they ran, with only the clothes on their back and some perfume given to them by strangers….They didn’t return home to where she had family to help with the baby, instead they escaped into a foreign land and lived as a refugee for years, before they ever making it home to Nazareth.
It is a reminder that of ALL the people in the entire world, God chose an unwed pregnant teenager to give birth to a child, who would ultimately change the course of history!
It’s the part of the Christmas story we don’t speak of, nearly enough as Christians.
So today’s shoutout is for Mary.
She is an example of the bravery in the weakest of our humanity. An example of how one can find courage and faith, in the most seemingly of bad situations.
She is a statement to the perseverance required, to overcome the obstacles in one’s midst and how one of her deepest and darkest secret could be redeemed into something majestic, holy and of purpose.
She is a testament, to the innate power and tenacity of the human spirit, within each of us. And a stunning example of what it means to birth the hope and strength we have within us, to keep moving forward ❤️