This advent season, I am noticing my attention being drawn again and again, to this aspect of the Incarnation: Mary had a baby.
On Christmas Day, we are actually celebrating a birth, and someone giving birth.
Without enshrining the birth-giver in some sort of semi-deification, we can appreciate her amazing gift, her faithful will; but we should also note the physical sacrifice. Many factions of our socio-political advisors would like to dismiss that notice. Giving birth is default for the hopelessly un-elite. Childbearing is not for the elite, unless it be once or twice, and the offspring be carefully planned and artfully curated.
All the Christian world, those faithful and still those antagonistic, when they celebrate the holiday, are celebrating a woman giving life to her child. And I admit I am enjoying that.
But for Mary it was a gritty, painful night of anguish just preceded by ninety miles travel on a donkey. Birthing a baby with only a husband for help. In a stable. In an unfamiliar town far from home.
Her location and travel compelled by the iron will of a government for the purpose of reducing her, her husband, and her infant to three numbers in a mass of subjects. In this, that government failed.