Day 6: Actually Birthing Jesus

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.
— Roy L Smith
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
— Luke 2

How about Mary?

Holy Moly, I cannot even imagine. 

In every painting she's all placid and smiling and lovely. 

Do you think when she was pushing with zero drugs on the dirty floor of a barn that she was all sweet and lovely and glowing in the middle of feeling like she was going TO DIE? Because there’s the whole giving birth part in the Christmas story and the pain and the agony and the blood and the yelling and the ZERO doctors and the part where they are just kids. Teens. One minute doing chores and sassin’ their moms and the next holding Baby God.

No medical aide. No sterile anything. No moms and grandmas and friends ready to rush in and congratulate you on your first-born with gifts and kisses. No ideal anything. 

But she chose Yes instead of No. And had no idea what her Yes was all about. And so it goes with motherhood. The sacrifice is in the Yes.

Yes to birth in the dirt.
Yes to laying aside certain hopes, dreams and expectations.
Yes to pain and heartache and discipline and the constant hard work of parenting. 
Yes to stretching out your body.
Yes to crushing the feminine ideal.
Yes to little hearts that make your own burst.
Yes to beauty, love, joy.

Her birth story is pretty over the top. With horses breathing down her neck, the smell of manure to her right, molted old feathers to her left. Who knows what else. 
Me? I had a clean hospital room, plenty of help and expertise around, drugs ready if I wanted, clean running water at any temperature. Not sure if I could have hacked it in a tumbledown hole in the wall. 


And so she stores some things away in heart. Questions and wonders all treasured up inside. 

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
— Luke 2

She treasured all this in her heart. 

All of it.
The fact that her son was “God with us”.
That He “came to save people from their sins.”
That her baby was born for others, not just for her. 
That the Divine was in the dirt. 
That the King was in her arms. 

Sometimes I wonder how in the world our hearts can hold all they do, all at once. All the joy.  All the grief. All the anticipating. All the fear. All the shattered expectations. All the questions. All of it coming and going. All of it treasured. Each piece mattering. Together. 

Each piece treasured like precious, delicate things.

Isn’t that the heart of a nurturer?
A mother?
A teacher?
A care-taker?
She was so very much like us. Normal. Wondering. Struggling. Birthing. Treasuring.  

She was handed a fresh, warm treasure and a song for her heart. A song that would sing of the Treasure she held. 

Dear God, Thank you for using a teenage girl to be the vessel for The King. A girl. With no education. No resume. No shiny anything to offer. Just a willing heart. A Yes. Thank you that you treasure the willing heart - the one that says: I will do whatever you ask, Good King. Thank you that you gave good treasures and you gave Good News. Amen. 

And Mary said,

I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
— Luke 1: 45-66