By: Maggie Leonard
Luke 2. 1-20
Reflection—v. 7, ‘And she gave birth’
There is little so sweet as a Christmas nativity set—Mary peacefully kneeling, Joseph gazing at the heavens, fluffy sheep outside the barn accompanied by curious shepherds and majestically clothed wise men, an angel suspended above with a harp in hand, and little baby Jesus, rosy, chubby, and babbling at the center of it all. When exactly did giving birth become so idyllic? Birth is messy and gross—there is bleeding, tearing, and wailing. Not all survive it. And yet, we all went through it to get here. Perhaps if there was a nativity with Mary napping in the corner, Joseph confusedly holding a diaper, shepherds looking wide-eyed and surprised, wise men waiting patiently in the barn next-door until they can come in, while Gabriel tries to hide his radiant light so as not to wake the sleeping mama, and farm animals trampling through the barn with all their muck and nosing a red-faced, hungry Jesus, then we could truly believe that God is with us in our mess and suffering. God incarnate indeed!
Prayer Sweet baby Jesus, let us not forget that you were born into mess and that you will not leave us in our mess. Thanks be to God!