Friday, November 27, 2015

Three Wise Women

Here's a Christmas story for you. I remembered this as I was putting up my tree today.

Many years ago, I lived with a woman that was Christian. Well, sort of Christian. Her religion told her she was going to hell since she was a lesbian, but she was still mostly Christian. So as we were decorating our tree one year, she had these ornaments that depicted the three wise men.

And I said, off hand, "I want three wise women on my tree."

She said, "You can't have three wise women!"

Well, I was like, "Why not?"

She said, "There weren't three wise women there."

So I thought about that. Surely there were women there when Jesus was born. I mean, Joseph didn't deliver that baby. Men didn't have anything to do with birthing babies back then. He would have been in the inn, probably getting drunk, while his son was born. Women would have attended Mary.

They would have summoned a midwife if possible, and midwives were wise. You had to be wise to deliver a baby in a barn with no modern medical stuff available and have both mom and baby come through the birth healthy. You'd have to be wise to do that today, and women are better nourished today and have better prenatal care. Plus Mary was a teenager, so her birth would have been riskier than that of an adult woman.

If there was no midwife around, other women would have attended Mary. Most women knew about birth back then. Maybe the innkeeper had a wife or daughters. They could have been wise.

And there were probably some prostitutes working at or around the inn. Who is to say they weren't wise?

There were women there. And if they helped a teenager give birth in a barn and the mom and baby both survived and were healthy, they were wise.

My friend was pretty shocked and upset that I suggested Jesus might have been delivered by hookers.

But the real story of Jesus's birth would have been that women helped deliver him, and it would have been bloody and smelly and, well, real. I know you don't see that in the nativity scene on the church lawn. But I've been at births. I know. And I know the women there were wise.

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