Week 29 day 2
Finding God in the Mysteries of every day
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Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Human, mother, instinctive protective, loving this is what we are seeing in this iconic scene from the Christmas story. Apart from all of the other add-ons and traditions there is the simple story of a very human mother who has given birth. She is exhausted from the journey from Nazareth tp Bethlehem. This whole census thing seems like a fool’s errand. But they are under the thumb of the Roman occupiers. So here they find themselves this little somewhat fractured family with no place to stay. Where will this poor young woman find a place to lay her sleeping infant. Both are exhausted from the birth. The baby now sleeping in her arms is content, she is on the point of collapse, (No, the bible doesn’t say that. I have been present at the birth of all five of my children, so I speak here with what I think is some small authority.)
Spying the feeding trough for the cattle and donkeys she most likely asks Joseph to put some fresh hay in the vessel and wrapping the child for warmth in the only available cloths she lays him in the manger and finally takes some small bit of rest.
When I get to this point in the Christmas story I can’t help but think of the various metaphors and promises of the evangelists: the new birth, the quickening of the spirit (that is making alive), the promise of entering His rest.
We make a mistake when we dismiss the Christmas story as a bit of lore and embellishment to the Church’s efforts to win the world. The whole life of Jesus from the emptying of himself of all his glory (Philippians 2) to that powerful, beautiful, sublime moment when he made himself known to the women at the empty tomb is the story we must own. It is our story. In him we are born into the poverty and isolation of the stable and finally resurrected to the sublime riches of the glory of the Father when we receive this King of kings.