My Thoughts on Christmas

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All births are special, but one centuries ago more than any other. It was the birth of a baby sent to redeem the world.

Specializes in Obstetrics. Has 20 years experience.

The most significant birth: Jesus

My Thoughts on Christmas

As an obstetrics nurse, the birth of a child is all part of the daily work, but always exciting. I went into obstetric nursing because I had great experiences with my own deliveries and wanted to impact other women the way my nurses impacted me. Birth never gets old, it’s never boring, and each birth is special. I still get misty-eyed every time, as if it were the first time. At Christmas, I am reminded of one very special birth that changed everything.

It was a night like any other for most. A young couple arrived in a crowded town to be counted for the census. They were newly married and expecting their first child at any moment. For them, this child wasn’t like any other for they knew he was to be a king, though they had no idea how the plan would play out. It wasn’t their plan after all, but God’s, and they were trusting completely in His plan. I think we all know the story – the crowded town, no room in the inn, a corner of a stable the best they could do.

The births of today, mostly in the hospital in the United States, are complex ordeals with interventions to ensure the relative safety of both mother and baby. Whether or not this is ideal is a topic for another article. Suffice it to say that we value cleanliness, proper medical equipment, and specialized personnel to manage the labor, birth and recovery of women and newborns. This is something I am passionate about and to which I have devoted my career. Cleanliness and safety are top priority with medicines, equipment and staff at the ready for any potential emergency.

This was not the case on that night in Bethlehem. Mary and Joseph were alone, inexperienced, and scared to death. Mary was just a teenager with no woman to help her bring her baby into the world. All she had was Joseph. He cleaned a corner of the stable for her, sweeping out the dirty hay, animal manure, and no telling what other dirt and debris to make a bed for Mary. There was no infant warmer, no clean blankets, no trained nurse devoted to baby’s assessment and recovery. There was no crib, no bedding. The closest thing they had was a manger, which sounds nice, but was just an animal feeding trough. A feeding trough. Not exactly a soft and comfortable place for a newborn baby, and certainly not clean or warm. They raked the dirt out of it and placed fresh hay for a makeshift mattress.

There was no one to call for help. They had to trust in God’s plan and believe everything was going to be OK. When the baby was born, they wrapped it in rags like those used to wrap newborn lambs. Swaddling clothes, which sounds like something soft and warm, but really were just strips of rags. Was this how a king should be born? Was this infant really sent from heaven to redeem the world? It made no sense. In contrast to the deliveries I’ve attended over the years, it must have been appalling. Dirty. Cold. Lonely.

The birth of a child is always special, in any circumstance, whether planned or not, wanted or not, in a hospital, car, bus, or plane. Healthy or not, even alive or not. Each one is different, and I’ve experienced the gamut. But for this couple, on this night, this birth was particularly unique. The arrival of this king was foretold centuries before, but no one expected He would arrive like this.  Born to a virgin, in a dirty animal barn, in a crowded city, with no fanfare or proclamation of royal birth. Shepherds in the field were the first to hear the announcement. Shepherds, who spent their lives outside, day and night, dirty, cold, taking care of smelly sheep 24/7. Why them? I don’t know, but I am sure God had planned it all out this way. Mary and Joseph certainly didn’t understand, but they trusted and made the best of the situation.

I know not everyone is of the Christian faith, and Christmas means different things to different people, nothing to some. But for me, it is a day to celebrate with family, exchange gifts, and remember the greatest birthday party that never was. It was an unassuming night, with no Christmas tree, crackling fire, cake, or great feast of celebration. It was a quiet birth, attended only by animals in the barn, but was the most special of all births. This one changed the world.

Tina Hayes has 19 years experience and specializes in Obstetrics.

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2 Comment(s)

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 2 Articles; 4,262 Posts

On 12/24/2021 at 4:20 AM, Tina Hayes said:
My Thoughts on Christmas

 

I know not everyone is of the Christian faith, and Christmas means different things to different people, nothing to some. But for me, it is a day to celebrate with family, exchange gifts, and remember the greatest birthday party that never was. It was an unassuming night, with no Christmas tree, crackling fire, cake, or great feast of celebration. It was a quiet birth, attended only by animals in the barn, but was the most special of all births. This one changed the world.

I appreciate your comments on Christmas but it might interest you to know that most of the customary practices at Christmas actually stem from from pagan traditions. As a pagan I don't celebrabe Christmas but I do honor the "Mother" with Winter solstice. Still Christianity is pretty predominate and I know that it is a super meaningful holiday so I am never rude to them. I even go to their parties when they say Merry Christmas I respond with Happy Solstice. 

Your article is nicely written and as a for LDRP nurse I get what you mean.

anyways

Happy Solstice

Hppy

JBMmom, MSN, NP

Specializes in Long term care; med-surg; critical care. Has 10 years experience. 4 Articles; 1,923 Posts

I think one benefit of the holiday season, for people of all beliefs, is that for this one season of the year, there is an added air of kindness and generosity. There are those that don't look forward to time with family as a blessing, those dealing with loss or strained relationships. Some are celebrating this year as the first without a loved one, or facing end of life issues. 

I am blessed to have the day off this year, to spend cherished time with my family in memory of this special birth. I hope for everyone that however they spend time today, they will have peace and joy. 

Thank you for sharing your story.