Jesus' nativity, the son of God born of a virgin mother, is one of the great mysteries of Christianity.
The story we can grasp more easily is of his humble beginnings in a manger. Most people who were hoping for the Messiah expected him to be born in power and sumptuousness, but Jesus' birth attendants were the animals whose home he shared in his first days.
One lesson for all of us in Jesus' birth is that we cannot judge the value of any human life, as weighed against another.
Every human being enters the world from the body of his mother in a moment of supreme vulnerability. Regardless of the circumstances, for mother and baby alike, it is one of the most fundamental human experiences any of us will ever have.
Every birth is a new beginning, for the child, for her family, and for the world, in a way. Every birth should be joyful, peaceful, transcendent.
I always enjoy The Bloggess, a/k/a Jenny Lawson, and I surely do wish I could do those things she does with pictures.
With her permission, I offer a Christmas cookie from one of Lawson's recent posts, "Lesson 7: Your Birth Plan. Good Luck With That." As is so often true of The Bloggess, collateral damage aside, she has hit the nail on the head. Plus, it's seasonal:
The person making your actual birth plan decisions is your baby. Related: babies don’t give a shit about your plans. Making a plan for the birth of a child is like making a plan for decorating your Christmas tree in the middle of a house fire. Until you’re actually in the heat of battle, you have no idea whether you’re going to want drugs or whether you’ll have to have a c-section or whether you’ll be stuck in traffic and the baby will be delivered by a cab driver who will burn off the umbilical cord with his cigar. And that’s fine. Hell, the Virgin Mary had her baby in a damn barn and he turned out okay.
In the end, none of that matters. Whether you welcome your baby in a hut or in a hospital or in the orphanage where you adopt her, the same basic rule applies: If you’re lucky enough to end up with a baby, you win.
Here's a charming story to tell around the Christmas tree.
While an Ohio couple was at a Columbus hospital for the birth of their son, thieves broke into their home, wrecked it and stole their Christmas presents.
Tom Sheehan, who until last summer was a member of the military force stationed in Iraq, and his fiancee, Tonya Verduga, knew their new baby might come into the world around Christmastime.
So the couple had purchased all the presents for Tonya's two sons, aged eight and 10. But while they were at the hospital for the birth of their baby, Jonathan, thieves broke in and took all the presents, as well as a television, a computer and some jewelry.
Sheehan, who served three tours of duty in Iraq, told reporters earlier this month, "Take a TV, take something...that's fine, that can be replaced. But a child's Christmas spirit? How do you just break that without any regard?"