Manger
Religious Reflections

Christmas

As we celebrate Christmas, let us remember what we are celebrating. The manger scene would not have been the beautiful one we depict. Instead, a young couple of color with the woman about to give birth are on the road but can find no place to stay. And so they seek shelter, most likely in a cave, where someone kept animals. Nowhere does scripture say it is stable. And in this dark and dirty place, the time of birth comes. There is no doctor, nurse, or midwife to help with the delivery. Men did not help with such things in Joseph’s culture, and so he would have known nothing of what to do. But there was just Mary and him. As terrifying as it must have been, with the pain, with the dirt, and with the blood, somehow the birth was completed. But then, what to do with this child? They had some cloth bands, so they used them to wrap this new child and laid him in a trough from which animals feed.

"Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." (Luke 2:4-7 NRSV)

Jesus' Birth
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