Quick: What color was Mary's shawl? What color was her dress?
Personally, I've always pictured her in blue...why? I have no idea!
Maybe the first time I ever saw here depicted in a book she was dressed in blue...or the first time I saw her portrayed in a movie she was dressed in blue.
It's actually quite likely that she was NOT dressed in blue--that would have been a very impractical and artificial (and therefore expensive) color of cloth in her day.
But the assumption I have is based on something that is not actually 'in' the Christmas story.
There are many things like that. Much folklore has arisen about Mary, Joseph and 'Baby Jesus'.
Make no mistake: This was very REAL!
There was real trouble, real difficulty, real pain of childbirth, and (I can only assume) real fear and angst about what the future held for this young family, starting out with the most non-traditional beginning in HISTORY!
Yet Mary, the earthly mother of the Lord...The Vessel which God used to bring His son to earth...was very willing to go through this!
She knew that history would look back on her and call her blessed.
"Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
47 How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
48 For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
49 For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me." (Luke 1:46-49)
Mary's faith, however, should not distract us from the very 'real' predicament they were in.
There was the very real problem that there was 'No room' for them anywhere in Bethlehem when they finally arrived (after a very real 80 mile ride on a donkey, while NINE MONTHS PREGNANT!).
Was there panic? Was there fear?
We don't know. We can only assume.
"And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them." (Luke 2:6-7)
We don't know exactly what Mary and Joseph were going through, emotionally and spiritually that night. We do know what she was going through, physically, and it was very...real.
Mary was in real labor, and she was practically alone in doing so. Joseph was trying to help her, but he was a carpenter, not a midwife!
It was probably a messy, difficult situation...Jesus, contrary to the song, probably did cry.
...but it was a Labor of Love!
This Christmas, as you make room in your schedule to 'worship Christ, the newborn King', make sure that you don't let the folklore of Christmas take away the reality of it. Worship Him, for real this Christmas!