It Was a Real Night …

I am connecting my experience with my pregnancies in my 30s and today’s scriptures,* Mary’s story and a specific song.

Mary was very young.

The angel told her Elizabeth was pregnant.

Mary rushed to Elizabeth’s home.

Elizabeth was six months pregnant.

Mary stayed with her three months.

Mary asked about, listened and observed Elizabeth’s pregnancy.

Maybe she was there when John was born.

After Mary returned home, her fiancé Joseph told her to go with him to his hometown.

She was going to a strange city with her new, older husband.

She had no women to go with her—especially Elizabeth.

Maybe she cried.

It was not a silent night.

Mary rode on a donkey or walked.

Her baby danced on her bladder.

Joseph stopped many times seeking to find relief for her.

Her cravings were not fulfilled.

Nodding off on the donkey because she has not slept well for weeks.

The contractions racked her body.

Then her waters broke, and she was in pain and wet.

She was moaning.

And she clenched her teeth so she would not scream at Joseph:

“Find a room.”

All was not calm.

But because of the census, there was no vacancy and no relief.

One innkeeper pointed to the stable.

It’s full of loud animals with their smell, urine, manure mixed with the hay.

Maybe the innkeeper’s wife gave them water, clean rags and fresh hay.

Maybe she helped Mary or found a midwife.

Or maybe Joseph broke with tradition and helped Mary.

All was not bright.

Jesus cried with his first breath outside his mother’s womb.

His first language was crying: I’m hungry. I’m wet. I’m cold. I’m sleepy.

He was not tender and mild.

But he was filled with Mary’s milk, he was cleaned and swaddled in dry, warm cloths.

Jesus—and his mother—slept in heavenly peace.

Finally, it was a holy night.


*God is our refuge and strength;

a very present in trouble,

through the waters and the tremble.

God is within her, she cannot be shaken;

God will help her at the break of day.

Come and see what the Lord has done.

Be still, then, and know that I am God.

His name was called Emmanuel, which means,

God with us.

The Lord is with us. [Psalm 46; Matthew 1:18-25]