I’ve heard a lot of people say that Christmas hits different when you have a kid. And so far, I’ve found this to be true. I recently watched the movie Klaus on Netflix and was an absolute blubbering mess through the entire thing. When we went to get a Santa photo, there was a little boy in line near us who had his Santa letter and all it said was “Dear Santa, good job!” I burst into tears over the cuteness.
This season is full of a lot of “firsts” and big milestones for Logan. First time seeing the lights on the tree, first time meeting Santa, first time joining in on family traditions, first time rolling over, first time laughing, etc. And even though he’s still small, this is also Logan’s first time hearing the story of Christmas. And while it’s definitely not my first time there’s a lot about this story that resonates differently with me now that I’m a parent. There’s a lot of things that I wonder about.
I wonder how Mary felt – at nearly nine months pregnant – when Joseph told her they had to pack up and travel to Bethlehem for the census? You wouldn’t find me journeying to the mailbox at the end of my pregnancy. There’s no way I’d be going all the way back to my husband’s hometown on the back of a donkey.
I wonder how Mary felt when they arrived and were told they didn’t have a place to stay. Nine months pregnant and you’re going to put me in a barn?! Then going into labor and delivering in said barn. No doctors, no privacy, no drugs. No thanks!
I wonder how Mary felt having visitors – strangers! – coming to her bedside to worship her newborn child. Around day four in the hospital after having Logan, I lost it. I broke down crying because we had so many people who came to visit and hold the baby that it seemed like I never got to hold my own child. I wonder if Mary held a tiny grudge against the Shepherds for “telling it on the mountain” and bringing with them a revolving door of visitors. I wonder if she longed for just a few minutes with her son where people weren’t falling on their faces in awe of him.
I wonder how easy it was for her to breastfeed. I imagine back then it was easier considering that was really the only option. She didn’t have nurses making her feel bad for not immediately latching or choosing formula. Or friends and family guilt tripping her for using a Baby Breeza which is “basically cheating.” I wonder what it was like to have that experience, guilt free.
I wonder if Mary had bouts of postpartum depression. I wonder how much sleep Mary got. (Probably none considering they had to hightail it to Egypt on the run from King Herod there for a while…) I wonder if Mary longed for the days when she could shower (bathe?) without hearing a baby crying/screaming from the other room. I wonder if Mary had postpartum hair loss. Did she struggle with her body image post delivery too?
I wonder if Mary had help. Did people who were quick to run to the manger to worship the Son of God stick around to help change the Messiah’s diapers? Was Mary ever able to take a nap? Did her and Elizabeth form a new moms group to bond over the trials of motherhood?
I also often wonder how Mary wrestled with being a mom to a real life human baby who was also the Savior of the world. Did Jesus get gas pains or have colic? Did he ever projectile spit up on her? What was teething and potty training like? Did Jesus’ diapers stink as bad as my kid’s do or did they smell better, somehow, because He’s the Son of God?
They’re right when they say that Christmas is different when you’re a parent. Reading this story now, I relate a little bit more to Mary than I did before. I really do wonder what motherhood was like for Mary. Did the mother of the Messiah struggle with things like I do? I know Jesus was Jesus but he was still a human baby. I’d like to think Mary and I had some similarities. Except for maybe the Baby Breeza…