Don’t worry, we’re not becoming The Chick Flick Catechism (not that there’s anything wrong with that), we’re just addressing the concerns of frequent commenter Xena who laments, “It always gives me the heebie-jeebies this time of year that the birth of Jesus seems to get celebrated without any references to pregnancy or childbirth.” And you know what, she’s right. Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio reminds us that “despite the cuddly image of our nativity scenes, the original Christmas was anything but cozy. A woman nine months pregnant rides 75 miles on the back of a donkey over bumpy, dusty roads so she can have her baby in a stable full of dirty, smelly animals.” Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think that’s how it was portrayed in The Greatest Story Ever Told.
Mary is given many titles as the eschatological icon of the Church: Tower of Ivory, House of Gold, Ark of the Covenant, etc. But during Advent & Christmas, maybe it’s a good time to remember some of the simpler, yet just as meaningful titles Mary held; wife, mother, widow, etc., and all of the subsequent hardships which come along with them. And just because Christian tradition holds that, due to certain Christological necessities, Mary did not suffer the pains of the actual childbirth (Summa Theologica Q35,A6 & The Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part 1: The Creed, Article III), that doesn’t mean she didn’t have to put up with some of the rest of the pleasantries of pregnancy. I think it’s safe to assume St. Joseph had to learn to give a foot massage.