I first heard this song, Breath of Heaven by Amy Grant, last year and was immediately moved by it. Contemplating the Nativity had always conjured thoughts of wise men and halos, angelic messengers and other-worldly star sightings. I have birthed three children, parented at least one to near adult-hood, and I had never stopped to consider the terrifying thoughts must have been going through Mary’s mind as her contractions began.
My deliveries were gratefully uneventful. My family was there to greet each baby into the fold and to nurture me into motherhood. I had several close girlfriends who cooked for my family, helped with the shopping and gifted me with baby blankets and flowers. My best friend coached me through breast feeding issues and the baby blues. The birth of each child was a joyful, heartwarming experience.
Now put yourself in Mary’s sandals. To begin with, her pregnancy alone was scandalous, but Joseph stood by her side and protected her. They had to travel far away from their family and friends, practically stranded in the event of her delivery. She had never given birth. She had no midwife to coach her. She had little protection from the elements and the only people they asked for help, turned them away. All she had was her faith in God and the love of Joseph. Ladies, imagine yourself giving birth under these conditions. And I prefer to think that Mary, in all of her grace, refrained from spewing profanities at Joseph when the contractions got intense.
I love this video because the director captures those magical moments that couples share immediately after the birth of a child. That look in Joseph’s eyes that express his amazement at Mary’s accomplishment. The tender moment and look of love as Mary caresses Joseph’s face, knowing that they are in this journey together.
So this Advent season, let us remember that the Nativity is more than a story about the birth of Christ. It is also the story of Mary’s birth into motherhood…the Mother of us ALL.