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Roots Childbirth Blog
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 13:51

Healthy Baby, Healthy Mom?


Tuesday, 24 December 2013 00:00

Meet Me in the Manger

     Did you wake up this morning with a million things on your mind? Last minute gifts to buy, ingredients for grandma’s stuffing recipe, more scotch tape (where IS the tape??), planning out the schedule for the day, trying to remember where you hid that one gift, worrying you might have left the price tag on something already wrapped and did you buy enough batteries? It leaves us feeling frazzled, worn out, rolled thin, tired and empty.


Are your children running around the house with joyful excitement and anticipation, begging to open “just one gift,” as you dig through the kitchen drawer looking for a wine tool while licking icing off the mixer? Do you check the mail every day hoping for an answered prayer only to be met with a stack of bills?


And the pictures on your Facebook feed... Do you compare? Do you long for more? So much expectation this time of year. Maybe your tree doesn’t look the way you imagined. Maybe you hoped to have a few more presents but that holiday bonus didn’t come through. Maybe you miss your brother and your dad. Maybe you long to see your long lost friend.  Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you wish you could bake cookies and sing songs but your spirit feels tired and worn. Maybe you need to be held in a tender way but instead you are tying someone else’s shoes, zipping up a little coat, packing up a diaper bag and heading out to run last minute errands. A journey you really don’t feel like taking…


And the Christmas carols. Lyrics and melody that connect us to the reverence and beauty of the season. Meant to lift our spirits and open our hearts to the celebration of the sacred child. Often they too can present a bar of celebration that seems unattainable, the festivity in the lyrics don’t always match our hearts do they? Often we don’t feel like jingling bells or riding in a winter wonderland.  But maybe if we listen closer, we can find a connection. Maybe if listen closer, we can hear… “Mary did you know…,” “Fall on your knees, hear the angel’s voices,” “Silent night, holy night, all is clam, all is bright…” The realness and weightiness of this day often grips me when I think about her journey, and my connection and commonality with her. So, full of grace, waiting patiently… Riding from Nazareth to Bethlehem. On a journey she probably didn’t really feel like taking…


Although beautifully descriptive, most of these songs probably don’t accurately express the reality of the situation that Mary found herself in that night. Kind of like in our lives, these songs paint a “Facebook feed” or “Christmas card” picture of the night, highlighting the stars and the crisp air and the calmness of the night. But in reality, I’m sure that Mary was very tired. She most likely felt moments of defeat and confusion. She was probably cold, worried, aching all over and disappointed. So far, I’m sure that her life was not panning out how she probably imagined and now she found herself young, none of her friends or family around her, in labor, in the middle of the night with no midwife or doula for support. After a long journey riding on the back of an animal, she found herself in a barn. I have a barn, they stink and they are quite drafty. This is where she found herself, laboring, surrounded by animals and hay and the outside elements, in pain. I wish I could go back in time and hold her hand and whisper to her, “It’s ok Mary, don’t cry, don’t be afraid, God is here and what you are about to do will change the world.”


But isn’t that life? Aren’t we always on journeys that we don’t want to take? Waking up, getting ready for the painful. Preparing for the disappointment. Bracing ourselves for the heartache. Stumbling through the messy. Weaving our way through the unexpected. Wishing someone would hold our hand, remind us of our journey, help us stand straighter and support us through our labor. And isn’t God always there? In front of and behind. Within our very bodies breathing us forward and gently sitting us down?


Maybe tonight we can be reminded of the beauty knitted inside the mystery of our own journey. Because today, we can see what Mary couldn’t. As she laid there in that barn, surrounded by those smelly animals, her contractions getting closer and closer together, her uterus beginning to bear down, she couldn’t see the choirs of angels singing “Hallelujah,” in a far off filed. She couldn’t see the shepherds stomping out their fires, dusting off their cloaks to come meet her baby. She didn’t know the Wise Men were preparing their packs and wrapping their precious gifts to come congratulate her. She didn’t know that her baby would reign forever and ever within us all. She didn’t know that over two thousand years later, her story would be the story that would be shared on alters and in living rooms and in bedtime stories as an anchor of grace for us to hold onto during our journey.


So tonight, embrace your journey. Whatever it is. Remember that no matter how bumpy or rainy it is, that you are not alone and your journey is being used. I have a journey too friend, and I’d love to share my road with you.

Come meet me on my road. You’ll find potholes and debris, you’ll find sunny days with beautiful sunsets. You’ll find hail and storm clouds and snow so cold it will freeze your tears. You’ll find patches of darkness and beautiful rainbows. You’ll find gardens and mud puddles, fields of sunflowers and oceans of waves. You’ll find little cabins tucked away into a beautiful mountain and a mansion on a hill. And you’ll find a manger... Come meet me in my manger.


Let’s share an embrace, tell a story, catch a tear and offer each other hope. Who knows what they’ll say about us in two thousand years, but I’m up for the challenge. Let’s dig in and open our arms wide and our hearts even wider. Under all the pain and disappointment and confusion and hurt, let’s love louder. Let’s trust and hope and wish upon that bright star.
Let’s follow Mary’s lead and say to the world, “Although this hurts and I have no idea why I am being called to carry it, I accept.” Let’s fall to our knees and hear the angel’s voices tonight with grace and humility at the mere opportunity of what might be birthed from our suffering. Let’s build a banner of love that shines as bright as the North Star. Let’s stomp out fear light the camp fire under the shepherd’s feet. Let’s sing a song of hope like the choir of angels. Let’s declare sustained adoration for our fellow man in the teeth of worldly opposition. Let’s gather together tonight and take back what is ours. Our hope. Our promise. Our connection to each other. Our human spirit. Our Holy Spirit. Our story. Tonight, meet me in the manger. I’ll be there waiting.

XO, Gaylea




Published in Christmas


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