I’ve mentioned this before.
Christmas Eve, to me, is a day for all women. Because, as the story goes, a young woman was labouring, with no women to attend her; alone but for her new husband, a handful of barnyard animals, and the ethereal breath of God.
It is a day to know that you are strong beause you are a woman. In those times of labour, you are profoundly alone, yet at the same time you are joined as you will never be joined in any other way, to a completely separate person. You must give over your body to this powerful movement within you. And while you picture this woman labouring on the road, in a stable, with no midwife and no doula, you also realise it is the perfect scenario.
In some ways, it doesn’t matter whether you have women attending you, because when it’s time for the birth, it’s time, and as a labouring woman, it’s your job to allow your body to do what it needs to do; you must willingly give up control of yourself, of your body, and give yourself over entirely to the forces that work around you. It used to be that people worshipped the universal mother, she who creates life.
And this day, I am in awe of her; the mother of God, and I am in awe of mothers everywhere.
Before and beyond all, there is the momentous and mysterious decree, that we were to be saved by “The Child-bearing,” Not without the instrumentality of a woman would the Great Almighty God vouchsafe to be made Man, “God sent forth His Son, made of a Woman” through His mother alone partaking of the substance of our flesh ; of a woman vouchsafing to be born, of a woman to be nursed, and in His man’s nature cared for, and educated, and ministered unto, by a woman.
-from “Women Labouring in the Lord: a Sermon preached on St. Mary Magdalene’s Day, 22 July 1863“