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This was too long for a Facebook status update:

“I went to Mass for the first time in ages today and you know what I thought about while the priest was giving the homily about Zaccharias’ excitement waiting for Jesus to be born? I thought, “I’ve never, in my 33 years, ever heard a priest talk about what it must have been like for Mary waiting for Jesus to be born.” Virgin birth aside, she still had to labor. And that, I can now tell you, is quite possibly the most profound kind of waiting human beings will ever experience. I’d like to hear a homily about that.”


15 responses »

  1. I come from a very spiritual family and I was constantly enrolled in vacation Bible school. However, just prior to junior high the camp was taken over by a new person and it was totally different.

    Every day we were asked to dress up in the robes they would have worn in Jesus’ time, over our clothes of course, and we walked through a large cardboard cutout of a book to enter the camp door. Actors in costume would randomly show up during craft time and talk to us as if we lived in that time period and everything we were reading about was current events. It was amazing. And more than a spiritual background, it gave me such a love of history and events.

    We didn’t talk about Mary’s waiting to give birth or her doctors appointments or anything like that, but if I took over that camp, I genuinely would like to hear more about Mary. The women of the Bible have always been unsung heroes.

  2. I wonder if Mary had one of those ecstatic births Ina Mae Gaskin talks about. Or how long she was in labor. Or if she was late. Of if she tore. Did they have the equivalent of a sedative or did she have so-called natural labor.

    Did she hold Jesus after he was born and did he crawl across her chest as a newborn looking for her breast?

    You bring up a very good point.

  3. Yup, the female voice is missing from the Christmas story. Direct quote from a Christmas series I found a while ago:

    Mary is sitting on the donkey saying, ” God I am pregnant. I am pregnant with the Messiah. What gives?”

    • Hope- That’s fantastic! If I’d gone to a Unitarian church, I’d have probably heard a sermon about Mary’s wait by now. 🙂

  4. There are quite a few point-of-views missing from religion 😉

    • Definitely, Abbie. That’s why I’m a lapsed Catholic! Truth is, I was going to the church to take a photo and because I happened to show up during Mass, decided to stay until the end of the service.

  5. Ya’ know Julie, in all my years of “Christmasy” services I’ve been to, I haven’t heard it myself..You bring up a great point

  6. I’ve only seen one service that really highlighted what Mary must have gone through, not only with the birth but also with the whole pregnancy and being ostracized from the community. It was a dramatic performance done by a member of the congregation who happened to be an actrice at my father’s church in Black Mountain, NC. Usually, this is a pretty traditional church so this was kind of cutting edge for them. I thought the performance was excellent and really put a new perspective on the whole Christmas story for me, but it seemed like many people in the audience looked at it as “filler” instead. But, maybe we’ll start hearing more of this side of the story.

  7. I’m actually going to Christmas Mass today for the first time in well over a decade. I’m in a very Catholic city in Ecuador and thought it would be an interesting experience as they celebrate many different aspects, including when Herod ordered all the children to be killed. Weird how we never talk about that part in North America.

  8. Yesterday as we drove back from the in-laws we were talking about this same thing! I was saying how I wished we could read something like a journal of Mary’s thoughts and prayers from the time and get a glimpse of what she felt during the pregnancy and leading up to the birth.

    The movie ‘Nativity’ does a pretty good job of highlighting Mary’s story – great one for kids/family and a good quality film (ie not a low-quality youth group movie). We watched it last year with D’s family and the year before with our Pakistani friends – the women loved how it did focus on Mary and the struggles she would have gone through, although the film doesn’t give her an inner monologue or anything. A film/novel that attempted that would be interesting.


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