A Christmas Story

December 19, 2017

Last Christmas Eve, in a nearby town, Mary, a young mother-to-be, stood gazing at a Nativity scene. That night she had this dream.

She's sitting on a donkey. Her boyfriend Joe is knocking on doors, asking for help, hearing "no room." Finally, a woman opens her door scolding, "What's so important at this late hour?"

"I'm Joe." Pointing, "Mary's having a baby!"

"I'm Rose," and after a quick assessment, "Bring her." Rose rekindles the fire and instructs Joe, "Cross the road. Call for Gerty. Explain the situation." As Joe leaves, Rose asks, "Is the child yours?"

Joe answers, "No," adding, "It's a long story."

Rose rolls her eyes, "I bet it is." She turns to comfort Mary, so cold, so frightened.

Within minutes, Joe arrives back with Gerty, blankets in hand. Rose gives one to Joe, along with a bowl of soup. "Now, off with you; go sleep with the sheep."

Gerty flashes her don't-you-worry smile at Mary while sprinkling frankincense on the fire. The aroma is calming.

Rose and Gerty, two friends, sip myrrh-scented tea, hum a melody about their LittleTown of Bethlehem, imagining Joe telling his 'long story' to the shepherd, while they roast chestnuts on an open fire. When it's time, Rose coaches Mary while Gerty is poised to welcome the baby. Once it's born, Gerty swaddles the infant, presents him to Mary, exclaiming with delight, "What child is this?"

Mary kisses her son and says she hears angels singing.

Gerty responds, "Joe and the shepherd are singing." She reassures, "God rests with merry gentlemen!"

Rose returns from telling Joe the news, shaking her head, describing the shepherd's face as Joe told him he was just Mary's companion, the real father is a holy spirit, and an angel has directed him to take Mary and the baby far away to protect them from harm's way.

Mary wonders if the kind women doubt angels. She braves a question, "Don't you believe in angels?"

In unison Rose and Gerty respond, "Of course we believe." Rose advises, "An angel's message is a gift of grace."

Mary holds her baby close, feeling the safest she's been since saying goodbye to her mother. The dream continues, a bit jumbled as dreams often are.

Townspeople arrive as is their tradition. Gerty welcomes them, "Oh come all ye faithful." Rose chastises their gossip, "Do you hear what I hear?" And warns, "It is not for us to judge how Mary and Joe became a family." Gerty encourages, "Be good, for goodness' sake."

Mary and Joe express gratitude. "We came upon a midnight clear and we're leaving to carry joy to the world." Gerty gives them a tiny gold coin with an image of a star as a blessing for their journey.

Mary awakened from her real-feel dream remembering it as a visit. That evening, she returned to the crèche with Joe. "You know, Joe, the Blessed Mother was not the only woman at the Nativity." She explained with certainty that God would have ensured wise, experienced women were there on Christmas Eve, guaranteeing all was calm, all went well.

Putting his arm around Mary, Joe wondered, "Why don't we see women in the Nativity scene; why just shepherds and angels?"

Mary remained quiet. She could see Rose and Gerty, and she always would.

Carolers gathered, singing "O Holy Night," and for the first time in a long while, Mary's soul felt its worth...

Kathy McGlade


  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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