The essentials

Months of looking at perfectly color-coordinated nurseries on the internet will do a number on any pregnant lady.  Jeff and I aren’t going totally overboard with preparing the space for the baby, but I was feeling a bit stressed.  (How are we going to fit a changing table in here?  Will that dresser fit into the space by the window?  Is this nightlight too bright?)

This morning I was in the midst of browsing for fabric for some new curtains and not finding anything I liked.  Then my family and I walked to the church up the street for the “Lessons and Carols” service, with readings from the Nativity story and carols in between.

The central passage is very simple.  Joseph must travel to his hometown for a Roman census, and his heavily pregnant fiancée must travel with him.

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Even though I don’t believe in the divinity of this particular baby, the basics of the story struck me. When the time came, a woman gave birth, even though she wasn’t married, even though she was on a road trip, even though there was no place for her to stay, even in an unsanitary setting. Babies come when they come.

They come without ribbons, they come without tags, they come without packages, boxes or bags. They come when you’re not ready.  They come without Uppababy strollers, Diaper Genies, or Sophie La Giraffe teethers. And parents throughout the ages have been making do.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m really glad to be parenting in the modern world. I’m glad to have a washing machine, a public transit system, vaccines, and a lot of other things that will make parenting easier and safer. And I do want to pick out curtains I’ll like. But things will be okay even if I don’t.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk,
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air –
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

Christina Rossetti, 1872



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