07-17-12 © BenAkiba, courtesy of iStockphoto

No one slept through the blood-curdling screams. They blared every minute or so, for hour after hour … after exasperating hour.

Because the small village sprawled atop a countryside crest, the halloos for help echoed throughout all the nooks and crannies of the town, into the hills nearby and the valleys below.

  • None were immune to the nuisance.

Lucius had just finished his watch, and he’d have to return to his post in a few hours. This was his only chance to get some shut-eye, but closed eyes couldn’t deafen the teenager’s wailing in the otherwise quiet night.

“Can’t someone make her shut up?” he yelled as he buried his head in his blanket.

  • How could anyone sleep through the ruckus?

Eliezer and Sarah had just arrived from a several-day journey. Their exhaustion begged for peaceful sleep, but rest didn’t come. They complained to the shoulder-shrugging innkeeper, but he reminded them that her agonizing cries kept him and his missus up as well. By the menacing expression of the nag behind him, it was obvious he’d already suffered her ire.

Shiphrah and Puah, the town’s midwives, recognized the girl’s travail, but they made no effort to aid her agony. They tossed and turned all night instead, jostling their covers like the restless baby fighting for freedom.

  • Not one person offered compassion.

No. Mary writhed in labor with only her teenage fiancée at her side. No comfort of a mother, a grandmother, a midwife, or even a bed.

  • Natural childbirth isn’t pain-free.

The process lasts for hours, and the birth pangs hit in wave after wave after unrelenting wave – with no relief until after delivery. The mother of the Messiah bore no less woe. This blessed maiden suffered Eve’s curse like all others before her.

Remember what God uttered:


“I will intensify your labor pains;

you will bear children in anguish.”

~ Genesis 3:16, HCSB


  • But no woman’s birth woes were comparable to Mary’s.

Not even Eve’s. The thirteen-to-fourteen-year-old’s birth canal would’ve been narrower than that of other mothers because it was virginal. As agonizing as it would be for other females, it was much worse for this teenager who had known no man.

  • Babies don’t come in secret … or silence.

That’s why it’s unfathomable that the innkeeper or Bethlehem’s other inhabitants didn’t answer Mary’s agony. The walls in first-century buildings weren’t soundproof. The soldiers, tax collectors, and pilgrims had to hear the commotion caused by Mary’s labor, for the village was very small. Every home was within shouting distance of every other. Everyone was within earshot of her excruciating screams.

  • That’s why the midwives of the town had to hear.

Since the Talmud reports that Hebrew midwives assisted in the deliveries of domestic animals, it makes their calloused inattentiveness to Mary’s plight among the animals even more perplexing. (Hul. 43a)

  • No one had concern for Christ at the first Christmas.

Perhaps, that’s why Luke subtly informs us that Mary had to deliver herself. She had to care for her newborn Child … because no one else would. Note the physician’s birth certificate:


And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

~ Luke 2:7, NKJV (emphasis mine)


Scripture seems to indicate that only the shepherds came to check on the couple or their Child. No one else. The wise men came later.

  • The others didn’t have room for Him in their hearts or lives.

And many still lack interest in coming to know the Savior – especially at Christmas.


What keeps us from having room in our hearts and lives for Christ?