It’s the day before. The house is quiet, children still in bed, and I’m thinking of the list of last-minute things and final preparations and friends arriving today and Grandpa and Grandma coming tomorrow. But mostly I’m thinking of a young mother and a soon-to-be birth.

There is a trend, it seems, to rescue Jesus’ birth from the sanitation of the beautiful, gold-trimmed nativity scene. From the clean barn with the quiet animals standing near and Mary, smiling while Jesus sleeps peacefully in a clean, sweet-hay-filled manger.

There is a trend, in the blogosphere, to encourage us to remember that the birth was a real birth. That there was pain and wrenching and blood. That when the time came for him to be born, he was born. The way all babies are born. And not in a clean hospital with a doctor or in a plastic swimming pool in a clean living room with a midwife. But in a stable. There would have been a little dirt, I think.

And I’ve appreciated that focus, that insistence that we look at the reality.

But I’ve had babies. And it was hard and painful and there was blood and lots of yuck. But when the one I’d worked so hard for through nine months of puke and constipation and heartburn and stretch marks and hours of straining labour … when he showed up, it was pure beauty.

And it didn’t matter where I was or how he came, he was here and that was all that mattered.

He is here. And that is all that matters.