The humility of Mary, the mother of Jesus has always struck me.
As a child growing up in the catholic church, praying daily the prayer that Elizabeth expressed when she realized the importance of Mary’s mission made me smile often.
Many think Catholics worship Mary, but I’ve never known that, just a sense of respect for the woman who carried the son of God and gave birth in a backyard shed.
Giving birth to Max this year, I didn’t really feel overwhelmed with emotions firstly, I was in a state of somewhat shock.
The first emotion I felt was pure gratitude.
After hours of labour our birth went a little awry and we were rushed in for emergency surgery.
Then I think of Mary in that stable.
The animals, their waste, the straw, the insects, the hopeless overwhelming sense of gratitude that they found somewhere to give birth.
Giving birth in a barn?
The carols make it sound so quaint. So tidy, so perfect, so intimate.
I think it was dirty, it was uncomfortable, it was not sweet in anyway.
Giving birth is hard enough, but on the floor of a shed, one full of animals, animals that don’t have the same levels of sanitation as we do today.
No epidural, no funny gas, no shower, bath or massage oil.
You are my hero.
The nativity story is made out to sound so pretty, because Christmas is festive and family orientated.
Yet Mary went through hell so that we can sing loudly ‘O night divine’ this weekend at carols by candlelight services.
She walked and carried her nine month pregnant self on a donkey and over miles upon miles of unforgiving terrain.
I suppose she reminds me, when I get up to my little man in the middle of the night, safe and sound in his own temperature controlled bedroom, that I am overwhelmingly blessed.
The Saviour of the world was born in a pigs trough as a manger, in the middle of a shed.
I am blessed.
We are blessed if we have somewhere to sleep tonight.
You are blessed.
If you have a bed this evening and your family is tucked up safe and sound.
We are blessed.