We’ve become used to nativity pageants or scenes that are beautiful, clean-looking, comfortable and even delightful. That fits nicely into a church sanctuary but it just wasn’t like that for Mary and Joseph. A 160 km donkey ride from Nazareth to Bethlehem, when more than 8 months pregnant, would hardly be comfortable. Near panic over finding a place to take Mary for the delivery of her child that night in crowded Bethlehem was not a serene experience. A stable, likely a cave being used as a barn, does not compare with a sterile delivery room in the hospital. Having no medical personnel on hand didn’t add to Joseph’s confidence either. To cap it all off, a late night visit by lowest-class shepherds straight from the field with no hand-sanitizer in sight would hardly add to a disease free state for the event.
But that is the way it was.
There was no grand entrance, no jubilant parade and welcoming parties seemed to be restricted to angels and shepherds. If any recognition from royalty was to come it would be in the form of soldiers sent to kill male babies in order to eliminate competition for the kingship. But Joseph and Mary put up with it all, escaped the massacre and rejoiced in Jesus’ birth.
It takes a lot to stay on the sunny side.