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25 December 2011 @ 09:37 pm
The Birthday Boy at Last!  

This is one of my favorite Baby Jesus images. So many of the others that portray Him have him looking like he is three years old, decidedly un-infant-ish. People, he was brand spanking new! He wasn't capable of holding his head up, or holding his arms outstretched for hours at a time. And he certainly wasn't holding court with charm and  graciousness. He was probably screaming bloody murder! Most of us can't endure a whole night without our pillow-top mattresses. Imagine sleeping on hay in a wood trough with day-old skin. He was likely cold, sticky and mad, wishing he had a one-way ticket back to the Celestial City. And dear God, poor Mary. Imagine, her predicament... the indignity, the utter lack of privacy, absence of healthcare, and having to endure this all in front of her long-suffering fiance, Joseph. 

After the late-night service with the Episcopalians last night, I headed over the the Mission where they have a life-size Nativity scene with real animals. It was close to midnight and Baby J had just arrived. Nearly everyone was already inside for Mass so I nearly had the whole place to myself. There's a fence around it so the animals don't wander off, but it is all I can ever do not to climb right in. You know what I mean? Don't you just want to get IN there? No? Okay, well fine-- me, I can barely restrain myself. 

There was a lovely old sheep that endured me petting her/him for the longest time, and had the most expressive pair of ears. I feel certain he/she wanted me to stay for a sleepover. I was ready to vault over the fence. I could have so happily curled up in the hay with him and his bunkmates. (Note to self to add to Bucket List: Sleeping in a Nativity Scene)  

A lovely, wise woman was talking to me this week about the gifts I was preparing for Baby Jesus. Feeling at a great loss for anything valuable I could come up with right now, she suggested I take Him all the messy things that were kicking me in the solar plexus. These would make the WORST ever presents. But I trust her guidance a lot, so after I loved up all the animals, Baby Jesus and I talked. I assured Him next Christmas I was certain to bring some really cool stuff, but for this year I was bringing him an giant existential hairball, a case of hives that won't quit, and a very bad attitude about something. I didn't get hit by lightning or stoned by the Shepherds, so I left it all there, came home and slept like a dead girl. God, I love that Baby.

I hope you all have had an absolutely gorgeous day doing just what you wanted to do with those you most wanted to do it with.

In peace, with love,
Mary Hershey

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
(Anonymous) on January 3rd, 2012 05:48 am (UTC)
Happy, happy birthday, Jesus!
Beautiful image, Mary! And great post. Makes me homesick for Santa Barbara, the Mission, and all its Christmas traditions!

Amazing how you leaving those gifts with Baby J helped so much. He really is something else, isn't He? Thinking of this small miracle of yours reminds me of the movie, Ben Hur. We got to watch it on the big screen this past holiday season, and there were lots of miracles in it! Hope you setting down these crosses gives you strength and clarity, Mary!

Merry CHRISTmas and Happy Holy Days!


maryhershey on January 14th, 2012 02:27 am (UTC)
Re: Happy, happy birthday, Jesus!
Right back at you, Fairy Goddaughter! xoxo

P.S. I haven't watched Ben Hur in decades. Maybe next Xmas. Do any horses get hurt? I hate that.
(Anonymous) on February 23rd, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
Beautiful picture!!! Who is the artist?