I often see the nativity at Christmas time and hear the story of Jesus’ birth. This year I was struck by what a lonely beginning that really was. A newly married couple traveling into a city which they apparently had no relatives to stay with ended up not in a comfortable hotel, but a barn. At the worse possible time Mary goes into labor and the only people to help or celebrate it with Mary and Joseph are a bunch of poor strangers (the wise men don’t show up until a couple years later). Mary and Joseph don’t have proper baby gear or even a borrowed crib. They only had the feeding trough for the animals. Where was their family? Was Mary’s mother there to help with the newborn? No. It doesn’t seem like from the scriptures that they had anyone. Mary had to figure out and do everything with the help of strangers. Would she have been able to lay around a rest? Nope. I am certain that as soon as an inn had room they moved and as soon as they could go home they did. Nothing about Jesus’ birth was normal or typical or easy. I often wonder why life isn’t easy, but it seems like God has been there too.