If you're like me, you've heard the Christmas story told a million times and can probably even quote the verse from Luke "Fear not, I bring you tidings of great joy which shall be to all people..." But as I was addressing holiday (yes, we have to say holiday because there are many Hindu people at my office) cards and listening to Christmas music yesterday, I started really thinking about the birth of Christ and how truly AMAZING that time must have been.
#1. If you've been 9 months pregnant, or have known a woman who was 9 months pregnant, you know walking more than a few steps at that point is tiring. Everything is tiring when you're THAT pregnant. Can you imagine riding through the desert on a donkey for DAYS? All that bouncing at that stage, I would have needed an adult diaper. Plus add in the back pain and swollen ankles of late pregnancy and I feel for Mary.
#2. Christchild or not, labor and delivery is painful. Not only did she have no pain meds, she had no bed, no clean environment, and was forced to go through that ordeal in a barn. A barn! Compare that to the fancy birthing centers nowadays. And then once her baby was here, she had no bed to put him in. She had to put him in a manger. Do you know what a manger is? It's a trough. To feed animals. How humbling it must have been to just have to make due with what she and Joseph had available to them.
#3. Angels - the ULTIMATE birth announcement. Really can't compare to those cute little postcards or emails we send out now. Imagine people rejoicing in the fields at the mere news of the birth of your baby. Imagine the heavens opening up and choirs of angels proclaiming "GLORIA". Imagine people dropping what they were doing and traveling, possibly many miles, just to SEE your child. That's pretty intense.
#4. Have you seen a newborn? Ever? Small, helpless, sweet little bundles of new life. That's who Mary was holding. And that little bundle was GOD'S SON. That is amazing to me. God-made-man, came to earth as a baby. A baby who couldn't lift his own head, who couldn't speak, who couldn't do anything for himself at all. Which brings me to my final point...
#5. God sent his ONLY beloved son to earth to die for all of us. If you are a mother or a father, I expect this will hit you particularly hard. I can't even think about losing Anna, it physically hurts me. Can you imagine putting your baby in a situation where you KNOW he or she is going to die? Even if it is for the good of others, I cannot fathom the selflessness of this act.
Funny how now that I have a child old enough to start enjoying Christmas, Santa Claus is not even on my mind a little this year. I hope I can convey the awesome miracle of Christ's birth to Anna when she's old enough to understand, because that is a great reason to celebrate.