When I began comparing the events involved with the birth of Jesus, I did not think about one of the important aspects. I must admit that I have never been present at the birth of a baby, so perhaps that is why I did not think about the environment Mary was in while she gave birth to Jesus. Last Sunday while I was teaching my Sunday morning Bible class about the realities of the events involved in Jesus’ birth, an older woman who helps in the class brought up the conditions. We listen as she talked about how women can go to a hospital and have doctors and nurses around and how the environment is clean and sterile. Pat is a mother and grandmother, so she knows about giving birth which gave her full authority in our eyes on this subject.
She shared about how much of a miracle it was that Mary and Jesus did not have infections considering the fact that Jesus was born in a stable where the animals lived. The environment was not sterile. There were no doctors or nurses around. Instead there were cows, goats, sheep etc. There were no modern medical instruments to help with the birth. There was no Neo-Natal ward for babies. There was a manger used to feed animals. There would have been straw, animal hair, and other things not sterile. It was not a wonderful place to have a baby.
Jesus came at a time when life was very hard and born in a place with no comforts. Mary endured harsh conditions to give birth to Jesus. When we sing Silent Night, I think we may get a false romanticized notion of the Nativity Scene being peaceful and wonderful. I have been around farm animals and have noticed something. They smell, make noise, and attract flies. It makes me appreciate all the more the sacrifice Jesus made to leave His throne in heaven and come to earth and the hardship Mary endured to say yes to God’s plan even though it meant giving birth in a stable. Then it makes me question myself and whether I am willing to make sacrifices for God in my life.