I thought this week couldn’t get any stranger, but I was wrong. Giving birth to my first child, that was life changing, though I would never have chosen to have it happen in an animal shed, but he’s here, and he’s healthy, and that’s all that matters. The thing with the angels and the shepherds was….a bit overwhelming, but they were so kind, and so keen to hold him, but so awkward, with their big grubby hands, it was really rather sweet.
But this morning the neighbours started to come round, keen to offer advice, and some really….odd questions.
“Did you know You’re swaddling him all wrong?” One woman after another showed me the only right way to do it, (all of them different, of course) Half said he would grow up spoilt, if I gave him too much attention and picked him up all the time. Others said he would have attachment issues, if I left him in the manger for too long, and he needed to be carried, for most of the day.
Then the really odd questions started…..could I make a statement, for the record, on whether I gave birth in a stable, or was it more of a cave? Could I confirm how many shepherds had turned up, and whether they stood on the left or the right of the crib? Did I have strong feelings about the colour blue? What about pink candles, could I give a position on that one. And what about the baby? Could I give a definitive answer as to whether he ever cried or not? Couldn’t I have been more considerate and had the child somewhere cleaner and without all the straw, because it would be such a mess to recreate the scene later?
Apparently some important men with gifts will turn up at some point – one chap was very insistent that I make a note of the exact number who came, and could I get them to write down their names, ranks and correct titles, before they went away again. Utterly baffling. These Bethlehem folk are very strange. Can’t wait to get back to Nazareth.
I know Jesus is a very special child – possibly the most special this world have ever seen, but what is all this obsession with strange details? There are some things about his birth I will treasure in my heart always… Other bits, not so much.