Christmas Eve

 In the fullness of time, God sent his son, born of a woman.         Galatians 4:4

I have been thinking about Mary today.  She would be approaching Bethlehem right about now, soon to find out there was no place for them with family or in the inns.  Going into labor with no midwife and no privacy. With only a fiancé who was not her baby’s father.  She had stayed with her cousin Elizabeth until she was large enough that the village elders would have to wait for the child’s birth before stoning her.  And hoping that Joseph would marry her so she wouldn’t be killed.  Worrying that he would not.  For tradition tells us that men who became fathers during betrothal were lashed.  Would Joseph take the lashes, even though he was innocent, to save her life?  Matthew 1:20 says that it took Divine intervention to convince him.

If Mary and Joseph lived in today’s world, her treatment would depend on where she lived.  Some areas would try to convince her to abort. In other areas, she would be stoned to death, pregnant or not.  Others would say, what’s the big deal?  What has happened to our world that lives of women and unborn have no intrinsic value?  Why does the miracle of a new life inside a woman have no magic, no awe? Because there are 7 Billion of us?  We could all be stood inside the State of Texas without touching each other.

I saw a report today about violence against women in India in 2011. This is a nation who worships goddesses as well as gods, you would think that women would be valued.  But assaults and murders of women together averaged 600 a day.  However shocking that number is, it’s worse in the USA.  Women theoretically have equal rights here. But nearly 1 in 5 American women had experienced rape or attempted rape. 1 in 4 had been beaten by a partner.  1 in 6 had been stalked. This is also from 2011.                                                          

And what of the attacks the Republican Party made on women during the last round of elections?  Rep. Todd Akin in Missouri and Richard Mourdock in Indiana lost their Senate races, as did Rep. Joe Walsh in Illinois.  It could be argued that their comments cost Mr. Romney the White House and the Party the Senate.  The Republicans in my personal world thought their remarks were appropriate considering the Democrats wanted free birth control and abortions as part of the Affordable Health Care Act.  My question was, did they want to lose the election?  If so why?
During my lifetime [I was born in the 1950s], I have seen my country do a complete turnaround about women.  As a child, we were second-class citizens.  Men were responsible for the behavior of their female relatives.  God help them if the ladies were defiant!  But most men had good jobs that would support a family and even pay for a few luxuries.  Never mind that Mom was on Valium and/or alcohol.  Good girls didn’t do lots of things.  Sports, smoke, drink, swear, wear pants, or have sex before marriage.

I lived through the free love era, brought on by the Pill.  Then abortion on demand was legalized as a response to so many women dying trying to self-abort.  Somehow, jobs were scarce, women had to work to pay for things, or was it that the old luxuries now became necessities?

Then the culture wars started.  We are still dealing with those.  The secular culture that glorifies cheap sex and no commitments, and the Religious Right that teaches women are second class, or worse, property.  Instead of anyone using common sense, both have gone to extreme positions.

I have been seeing the young generation forgo marriage entirely.  I hear talk of “a good first husband” and far too much talk of baby mamas and baby daddies.  People are not underwear, to be used and changed and discarded.  Children need both their parents.

Women hold up half the sky.  We work best on relationships, on holding the center together.  Our fertility is not all there is to us, but it is still magical.   “God sent his son, born of a woman.”  In many faiths, the woman is the bringer of Light.  That is why the Christ-child was born of a woman.

Would Mary have to fear for her life and the life of her child in your world?


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