My perspective on Christmas has changed dramatically over the last four years. I have become a mother and it has caused me to see Mary’s story in a whole new light. I have learned that birth doesn’t just ‘happen,’ as is implied in the stories. It is a lot of work! I have read hundreds of birth stories. Each one is unique. Each has its own character and tone for the story. Jesus’ birth is the most famous birth in all of history, and yet we don’t know many of the nitty gritty details. These are the details I think about.
The distance from Bethlehem to Nazareth is 70 miles, as the crow flies. Mary and Joseph probably traveled more like 80 to 90 miles through hills, forests, and fields. When we have backpacked in the mountains, we have averaged 10 miles a day. Mary was traveling by donkey, and probably some by foot, with a very pregnant belly. Eighty miles, in her condition, likely took at least a week. These days, pregnant women are cautioned about riding horses or bikes as our bellies grow for fear of falling. We are told not to stray far from home as we near our due date so we can be close to our doctors and midwives. We are told to elevate our feet to ease the swelling. Mary cast all those cares aside and did what was required of her. She made a long journey by donkey and by swollen foot just before her baby was to arrive. Continue reading