Christmas Day 1984 dawns with sunshine. I wake up smiling, with no clue how dramatically the next 16 hours will unfold. I am eager to go to church and do my alto part in the choir. Those spacious robes hide the girth of this longed for pregnancy--that glorious expectant state that fills me with joy and thanksgiving. As I begin to get out of bed it becomes more than apparent there will be no church for me today. It’s about to be someone’s birthday.
While I shower and wash my hair for the big event I can’t help but think about another woman nearly 2000 years ago.
You were so young, Mary, and there were no obstetricians hovering over you the way they have been over me. Surely your female relatives were a source of information. It would not surprise me, considering your close encounter with angels and God, if you received perfect instructions on how to proceed. I wonder if you were as excited as I am.
Beth, the midwife who has followed me with an eagle eye, works with my physician, a kind man so appropriately named Dr. Love. My husband records every contraction on his clipboard. He calls Beth to report. She says, “I wondered which one of my ladies would get me out on Christmas Day.” I feel like I have won the grand prize.
Was Joseph helping you and timing pains, or was it not socially acceptable for a man to be present? I don’t want to think you were all alone in that barn place. On second thought…I have to remember yours was the most special case ever on the face of the earth and you must have been provided for in ways none of us will ever know until we see you in Heaven.
My mother-in-law, several states away, calls to ask her son if he is sure we have plenty of gas. She is worried we’ll end up on the side of the road.
Sweet Mother of Jesus, you were riding on a donkey and made it just fine. I will be in our older model, but very comfortable, light blue Cadillac. I picture you as serene and trusting, ready to face the unknown and deliver the best gift ever given to mankind.
We arrive at the hospital and I have to concentrate on the business of birthing. Wires and tubes are attached to me. Medication is administered into my spine, a procedure that pushes my spouse to a near-faint.
I wonder about the activity in that manger. How long did you suffer? Was there any kind of herb or mixture to ease the inescapable pain of childbirth? Oh Mary, you precious girl. If I had been there, I would have rubbed your back and held your hand.
After what I consider unending torture, things move quickly. The stretcher seems to fly to the delivery room. Dr. Love appears out of nowhere. Someone is screaming. It turns out to be me.
We are led to believe cattle were lowing and peace surrounded your delivery place. It must be true. Yours was such a special case, and you were attended by the GREAT PHYSICIAN.
I hear that first little cry from my brand new son and I am consumed with more love than I thought existed.
I can only imagine what it was like for you.
After a brief introduction to my baby, I am wheeled into a corner until someone can take me to my room. In a moment of complete isolation I beg the janitor, who is mopping the floor, to take this IV out. He declines. I weep.
In humble surroundings you were honored and loved. Wise men brought offerings. No one pushed you aside.
In a few hours, I am pain-free and my handsome son is nestled in my arms. I drink in his sweetness with new-mother disbelief. He is adorable, and to me, perfect.
You must have felt the same way. Your baby truly was perfect. He still is.
My tears are forgotten. I can’t stop smiling and praising Mary’s firstborn for my incredible miracle.
Mary, someday I will tell you how thankful I am for your obedience and sacrifice in the delivery of the King of Kings--a blessed gift to the world--the reason for this season.
And thank you, Jesus, for answering the prayers of a barren woman. This is, hands down, the best Christmas of my life. Amen.
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