I don't stress over Christmas. Christmas should be enjoyed, but I don't get overly sentimental about it. However, I was thinking recently about how profound it is that God chose to reveal himself to the world as a baby. He actually had to be born-through a birth canal, no less. Jesus was considerate enough not to need a c-section; he wouldn't do that to Mary!(And I'm sure he didn't get stuck, either!) Besides, they didn't do c-sections back then and Joseph was a carpenter, not a surgeon. Birth was especially dangerous in those times, and yet God saw to every detail, even a warm, safe place for Jesus to be born. Apparently, the Inn was an open-air, very exposed place. The stable was much preferred for a laboring woman. Joseph, the unsung hero in Jesus' early life, actually delivered the Savior. This is quite astonishing if you think about it. I bet Mary got skin-to-skin contact right away and bonding with Jesus, with the sheep and cattle mooing and "lowing" nearby. Wacky environment, huh? Very natural and down-to-earth!I bet Mary also nursed Jesus shortly after birth, with no trouble at all. Can you imagine breastfeeding God?! I bet he never bit her after he got teeth! But, back to that miraculous night....Of course, there were the shepherds who had just been informed by the angels shortly before of the Savior's birth nearby. I'm sure Mary was all cleaned up and covered up by the time they arrived. I'm positive the shepherds were very considerate of her regardless of how she looked.
It just amazes me that God chose birth as his way of entry into the world. He could've chosen a different way: I'm sure of it. (I'm just not clever enough to think of how.) That he would choose a helpless, vulnerable baby that would one day save people from their sins is nothing short of incredible to me. It made me think about birth itself, as I have experienced this past year. (The picture above is one of two happy pictures taken of Julia's delivery. I'm so grateful Tim was able to capture it.)I believe God has a special grace and place in his heart for those who give birth and those who help them. I'm convinced that those who love to witness and aid in the miracle of a baby's birth, be they midwives, nurses, doctors, doulas, or the occasional husband (intentionally or with great surprise), are close to God's heart. My prayer for all those birth providers this season is that whether they call Jesus Savior or not, they would be struck with the realization that they are doing God's work in bringing vulnerable, needy little souls into the world who will hopefully love and serve God one day.
On a personal note, I think and pray especially for the scared, inexperienced nurse who delivered my baby this summer. Although she used horrible judgment and deserved to be let go after my delivery, nonetheless, she was used by God to deliver my baby safely and quickly. I pray that God would give her special comfort this Christmas season. I also pray that she learns all that she's supposed to from her time with me, Tim, and our precious Julia. And regarding my last obstetrician: I know my labor and delivery will not rank as a career highlight for him. I'd like to believe that had it been any other day my experience would have been different. But I belong to God and he orders the events of my life, including my babies' births, with kindness and excellence to accomplish his greater purposes. In that truth, although I've wrestled mightily with it, I rest.
And to all my pregnant friends: I'm praying for you! May God grant you a joyous, peaceful delivery in 2009. I'm here for you!