The Nativity Boring? More Like the Greatest Story Ever Told
I encourage all the reviewers--especially the male ones--who hold this view to ride a donkey through the desert while in labor. Then, they should give birth with no epidural or pain killer in a barn. This as a 16 year old and during a time when you had a 50-50 chance of dying during childbirth.
If, like seahorses, men became pregnant, this story would be a heroic epic along the lines of The Odyssey or Braveheart. Instead, critics are calling it a high school pageant. Well, even viewing the trailer for this movie before watching Happy Feet, I was crying.
Joseph is standing in the middle of a village crying for someone to help Mary, who is in agony.
Critics say the story lacks controversy and spin. What could be more controversial than putting a 16-year-old pregnant woman in the center of a community and asking, "What are you going to do about it?"
To me, this is the greatest story ever told. It is a story that asks "Which inn keeper are you? Are you the one who slams the door on somebody in real trouble? Or do you find room in your heart for them?"
Mary and Joseph get to Bethlehem and there is no room in the inn. You know what the inn keepers are thinking. "You should have gotten here earlier. You should have left the pregnant lady at home. You're too young to have a baby. You're too poor to have a baby." Etc. Etc.
Or maybe they wanted to help the young couple, but they were worried that they didn't know how. They'd never delivered a baby. They'd only make things worse.
How often do people say the same thing to young women today? You shouldn't have had a child if you couldn't afford to raise him. You should have gone to college so you could have made more money. You shouldn't be on wellfare. You shouldn't be a single mother.
I think it's interesting that the star of the film, Keisha Castle-Hughes, is, herself, pregnant at age 16. Will people tsk tsk her because it was not an immaculate conception? Due to the fact that they have led an immaculate life?
Or, if you're like me, you see people in trouble and think, "I'd like to help you, but I just don't know how. I don't have enough to give you. I don't know what to say. I'd just be in the way."
In answer to this we have the innkeeper who gives Mary and Joseph room in his stable. He took a chance at offending them. He didn't have much, but he gave them what he had. And they were able to make the most of it...and in fact create a humble scene that endures in school productions and home nativity sets all over the world.
Well, maybe Mary shouldn't have gone with Joseph to Bethlehem. I mean, in hindsight, it would have saved them a lot of anxiety. What, exactly, was Mary thinking? You could even suggest that she put her baby in danger by taking this journey. And if Joseph wasn't such a nice guy, Mary, too, could have been a single mother, or worse.
What was she thinking?
That isn't our question to ask. Not about Mary, who we know was following God's plan. And not about any other girl in Mary's situation. Because what do we know about her? No more than the innkeepers knew about Mary and Joseph.
Christmas reminds us that we can tsk tsk other people's decisions or accept that they are part of the Greatest Story Ever Told. God's story. Our only question to ask is do we have room in the inn or stable or not?