Originally Posted 12/15/2014
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a precious homebirth. I love December births. There is something that just feels so special about them. Christmas is the season of giving, and seeing a family bringing forth the gift of life just leaves me breathless. It stirs up visions of Mary and Joseph welcoming our saviour, Jesus Christ. It brings to mind a glorious nativity scene where His parents, surrounded by others, were consumed with love as they looked upon their perfect baby.
Being a doula has changed my picture of the nativity scene in a few ways. Well, it hasn't necessarily changed the nativity itself, but on Christmas, I am thinking about the birth a lot more than the classic nativity scene we see lit in people's yards or sympbolized on mantels. What's missing from the vision in my head? Primarily, the manger. I don't picture the manger at all.
History tells us that it would likely have taken a few months for the nativity attendants to arrive on the scene. Upon their arrival, a manger would have been a great place for baby Jesus to be swaddled and receive visitors. The actual night of His birth would have looked a lot different. On the night of His birth, instead of being placed in a manger, He would have been placed on His mother's chest.
Jesus didn't need a manger in the moments, or even days after his birth. But He would have required warmth - warmth from Mary. Mangers didn't come with warming lamps like the warmers in modern hospitals. Mangers would have been quite useless for a newborn. Before He was away in a manger, Jesus was away on his mother's chest. The safest and warmest place for Him, was right at Mary's breast.
The laboring mom I tended to last week reminded me of what Mary and Jesus' first moments must have been like. She cried and shouted to the Lord, "Thank you, GOD!" over and over. She wept at the sight of the perfect child our Father had sent to be placed on her chest. She didn't need a manger or a bassinet, and neither did her baby. Wrapped in God's love, all they needed was each other - skin-to-skin.
This Christmas, I am thankful that God sent Jesus to be safe and warm on Mary's chest. I loved the moments when my babies were placed on my chest. I bet Mary did, too.