“And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He travelled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.” Luke 2:4-7
The carols tell of a silent night when Christ was born. And as someone who over the past few weeks has gained quite a bit of experience on the maternity ward of a hospital, delivering babies, I can be fairly sure that when Mary gave birth to her first born the night was anything but silent.
In a stable, without modern medical assistance, no painkillers, no analgesia, no drugs, no calming midwife, and no doctor on stand-by if anything went wrong, Mary would have been pushing, panting, screaming, sweating, shouting, grunting, and making all sorts of noise. And then when Jesus was born, despite what Away in a manger says we can be pretty sure He would be been crying (as it says in the shortest verse of the Bible, “Jesus wept” John 11:35). And there would have been all sorts of mess with Mary’s broken waters and blood and stable animal muck and meconium* and vernix* and all the mess of a newborn baby in those strips of cloth lying in a manger. The night definitely wasn’t silent, and definitely was messy.
It was in the mess of a stable that the Son of God became flesh and lived among us. The stable is proof of God’s longing for us. The baby in a manger is proof that God wants to free us from Satan’s yoke. The baby is proof that you matter to Jesus. You matter so much that He left his place of honour beside the Father in heaven to come to the muck and mess of a stinking stable surrounded by animals to become a helpless baby in order to live a life that would ultimately lead to a cross where He would take our place. Another non silent occasion, as He cried out “”Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (Matthew 27:46) and his followers wept from a distance.
The baby is proof that you matter. The cross is proof of His love. The stable is proof God wants to be with us, and wants us to be with Him. This Christmas remember you matter. Remember you are loved, actually. Remember God is with us, this night and every night.
*google them if you don’t know what they are…
[image source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/3850007/Should-new-mothers-spend-ten-days-in-bed-after-giving-birth.html]