I was driving home from work yesterday, trying to feel peaceful and “Christmassy” by listening to Susan Boyle singing Silent Night when it struck me!
This carol I have loved all my life is the biggest fantasy ever!
There’s Mary in her clean blue clothes smiling happily at all the visitors and baby Jesus laying meekly in his straw crib.
If you have ever had a baby you know this is nonsense! There would have been pain and lots of it for this young girl. She would have been terrified and there would have been screaming and blood everywhere! Christmas Eve would have been filled with songs of birth pangs, not Angels singing sweetly.
Joseph would have been so worried for his beloved Mary. He already knew this baby was special and he was not the father. Can you imagine his feelings and thoughts?
Hopefully the innkeeper had a wise wife to help calm and help Mary.
And…. let’s face it- after giving birth women are totally exhausted. Can you imagine angels, shepherds and noisy animals all around you?
I prefer the real version. I prefer to think of Jesus screaming his head off as he was pushed into the world by a terrified young mother. I prefer to think this really happened and is not a saccharine, meaningless tableau that has somehow over the ages turned the Nativity scene into a total, bland fantasy!
Of course I will be singing along with everyone else on Christmas Eve and I don’t want children having to face the harsh realities just yet, but let’s spare a thought for the real players that night and their pain, tears and terror!