By Judy Brandon: Local columnist
Several years ago I visited a birthing center in a huge metropolitan city. It was a popular place, and women expecting babies put their names on a list months before their due dates so they could take advantage of the state-of-the-art facility.
The place looked more like a fancy hotel than a hospital. The rooms for expectant mothers were designed with certain elegance. All the colors from the faux-finished walls to the drapes to the furniture coordinated. The drapes were made of special fabric, and bedspreads matched the curtains.
Sitting areas with plush chairs were in each room so family members could relax and visit while they awaited the wonderful event. A few steps from each room and down the hall one could buy flowers for the new mother. With a call, a photographer would come to take pictures of the baby and also of the proud parents and grandparents who stood alongside.
Music filled the halls, animal and whimsical characters were painted in forest and jungle murals on the walls, and nurses wore vibrant colors in bold patterns. On the last night before the mom and baby were dismissed, mother and dad were treated to an elegant steak dinner by candlelight, served by the hospital staff.
My guide said: “The birthing experience here is unique. … We treat the mom like a queen and the dad like a king!”
The setting was really different when Jesus was born that night in Bethlehem. The situation was less than desirable. The place where the Christ child came into the world was a stinky and dark stable filled with manure. His bed was a dirty manger that was used as an eating trough for the animals.
The stable stall had not been decorated and color coordinated for the event. The only coordinating colors were the browns of cows, the yellows of the hay and the grays of the donkeys and worn wood on the walls of the stall. There was no place to sit except on the hay, and no doctor was on call.
Mary and Joseph did not have the support of extended family. They tended to the baby Jesus all by themselves. They had no layette for the baby so they wrapped baby Jesus in clean strips of cloth.
And the last meal that the young parents had before starting back home? Who knows? They may have had only meager portions of bread or dried meat or maybe some figs. I suppose they were fortunate if they had that.
Was that the best that God could do? I know that the Almighty, if he had chosen, could have had baby Jesus born in a palace, with all the jewels and precious stones and servants and surroundings fit for a king.
Why those humble circumstances? My thought is that because Jesus was born in those unassuming circumstances, the rich and powerful all through the ages have had to humble themselves to come to him. Then because Jesus was not born in a palace, the poor and lowly do not have to struggle with thoughts Jesus came only for the prestigious and powerful.
Jesus did not have to be born a king to prove himself. No matter how feeble and lowly it may seem, God in his splendor was confident in who his son was and confident in what his purpose was to be. Therefore, he chose those humble beginnings.
Jesus is the King of Kings — but the Bethlehem story tells me he is first our Savior.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: