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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Miraculous Birth

I've been pondering a lot lately about the birth of our dear Savior. I've always been grateful to our Heavenly Father for sending His son, but since becoming a mother I also have a great appreciation for Mary and her part of the Savior's life.

This past week I have been thinking about the joy of birth. I have been blessed to give birth to four beautiful children, and all have been miraculous moments. I have been blessed to have extremely wonderful medical care. I have been able to go to a facility that is sterile and clean and created for the purpose of childbirth. I have had available to me medical personnel who are trained in taking care of women and new babies no matter what complications may arise. I have been given epidurals so I have been able to enjoy every little second of the birthing process without pain. I have been surrounded by loved ones who were excited to be there with me while I welcomed a new baby into the world.

I wasn't nervous during my first labor and delivery. I had been in the delivery room with my best friend only six weeks earlier, so I knew exactly what to expect, even though our deliveries had differences. When I became a mother my mom was there with me. That is such a special thing to me -- my mom and dad hopped in the car and drove for 15 hours straight to be there when Tyler was born. It was a miraculous day that I will cherish always.

Then I thought about Mary's experience. She probably had never been involved with anyone else's birth, so this was a completely new experience to her. Even if she had a midwife to assist her earlier in the pregnancy, she was alone with Joseph going through the most painful parts of labor. What was her delivery environment? She was surrounded by animals in a stable. Mind you, I've always felt like the stable actually was a blessing in disguise, because the inns were totally open (everyone slept in the same room), so she would have had to deliver in front of everyone. Imagine the sacrilege that could and probably would have happened if she delivered in front of people who did not want to be bothered with this distraction. However, even though she was blessed with privacy, she was in a stable with animals. Even if Joseph found clean straw for Mary and Jesus, there would have definitely been a distinct stable smell.

Who was her medical personnel? Joseph. I think of Paul having to handle our first birth on his own, and there's just no way! I know Joseph was inspired and blessed to know what he needed to, but I'm sure it was still stressful for both of them! And where was Mary's mother? Probably wherever she needed to be for taxes at the time, but definitely not with her dear daughter.

I spoke with one woman who believes that God spared Mary of any pain since she was delivering His son. I don't feel that is the case -- I'm sure she felt much pain and suffering in this process as only laboring women can comprehend. And as mentioned, she suffered much of this labor on a donkey, in an unfamiliar land, with only her husband who had no medical knowledge. Obviously if He was hoping to make the childbirth perfect, He would have had her at home with midwives and her mother!

And yet, in the midst of all these unfavorable circumstances, Mary experienced a miracle. She gave birth to a beautiful, healthy babe who was not only her gift, but a gift to us all. I'm sure she felt the great love that I felt the first time my new baby was laid in my arms. And maybe she had even more gratitude than I had because they did overcome so many unusual and unfavorable obstacles to welcome their first child into the world.

Those humble circumstances of His birth have touched my heart so much this year. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift (2 Cor 9:15). May we all remember this, the greatest gift of all, during this blessed season.


Carol said...

Very good insights Denise. Our Ward pagaent also pointed out that Mary didn't know if Joseph was to stay with her or if this would be a birth she would endure entirely alone--yet she still said: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord."

Heidi said...

Wow, you just made me cry, that is wonderful insight. Thanks for sharing your creative mind with me. You are a great friend and I really appreciate you.

Bruce & Sylvia said...

As usual, you make me think. This time of year is so great. We need to carry these feelings into the new year.The picture of Mary on the New Era is such a great picture by Liz Swindle. It is so tender.

Rebecca said...

Thanks so much for this! Last year Natalie had me come to her church right before Christmas dressed like Mary and talk to the girls about her experience from her perspective. It really is humbling to think about it that way--just her and Joseph together giving birth and taking care of a newborn. It truly must have been a scary experience. It is amazing the perspective you gain once you have your own baby.