Behind the Story

24/12/08 | Posted by Poppy

As someone who nearly gave birth to a baby on the motorway I’ve had a real affinity with Mary. It makes a good story later, as both mother and baby are fine, but at the time it wasn’t funny.

image
 Baby Jesus

For me my second child came very quickly. From first contraction to birth it was under an hour. As we live ½ hour from the hospital it was touch and go whether we would make it. I really, really did not want to give birth by the side of the road, in the car or in the hospital car park. It was actually quite frightening to be going through labour so quickly. What I wanted was a bed, pain relief and a midwife! 

I was lucky and got two out of the three. I have the dubious privilege of giving birth without any pain relief at all. Let us not forget that childbirth hurts but at least it was quick and my son was fielded rather than delivered in his haste to get into the world.

On Christmas Eve when the story of how Jesus was born is told again it is easy to forget the human dimension. Jesus was born and laid in a manger. Well yes, but I bet it took more than a few hours and in a strange place and a first child it must have been scary. We don’t know if there was any help at hand and that bit got left out of the story later. Maybe the innkeeper’s wife popped in for some moral support and herbal tea but it couldn’t have been easy. All that clean straw around must have been a real bonus. We are told that Joseph was a carpenter. Not much use when delivering babies although maybe he got the crib sorted!

Mary must have been a quite remarkable person to go through all of this. When stories get told over and over we can become distanced from the fact that when it happens we don’t know that all will end well. Mary didn’t know the ending to her story. Her baby was delivered safely and years later people sing carols about it but once there was a real baby, a real birth and far from home. Not easy.

Mabye this Christmas think about some of the human reality behind the Christmas story. The fear, the uncertainty and the unknown and wonder at it all that God someone wanted to meet humanity in this way. Not in a palace but in the blood and sweat of a human birth.

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Poppy’s reminder about the reality of childbirth is one that should be given greater emphasis when the Christmas story is told. Jesus’ life - and that of his parents - was under great threat from the moment he was born. From delivery in a stable to murderous persecution by the authorities, the love and hope He brought to the world was as fragile as it was miraculous.

#1. By Richard Chambers on December 29, 2008

It’s very important because you’ve got a lot of white images of Christ. In reality, Christ was not white, not European. That’s important to the psychic and to the spiritual consciousness of black people who live in a ghetto and in a white society in which their lord and savior looks just like people who victimize them. God is whatever color God needs to be in order to let people know they’re not nobodies, they’re somebodies

#2. By KWAKU on January 02, 2009

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