“Grace has a grand laughter in it.” – Marilynne Robinson – from the book Gilead.
Amid the hay and the stones, the brays of the donkey and the moos of the cow, Mary worked so hard. I know Joseph’s role… but maybe I don’t. If we could look back at that moment, would Joseph be pacing outside? What was acceptable back then? Was Mary quiet in concentration? Was she focusing on a point on the wall? Was she squeezing Joseph’s hand or busy throwing whatever she could to shut the animals up? Was she breathing like she was supposed to? Was Joseph pacing around the room? Was Mary pleading with him to just stop it already? Was Mary screeching, shouting, hollering, and bellowing? Was she bearing down? Was she squatting or laying down? Was the baby head down or breach? Were there onlookers from the Inn? Did they get asked to “Quiet down”? Was she warm enough? Was she too hot? Did she wear her white head covering like all of the pictures say she did? Were their eyes baggy with lack of sleep? So many questions, yet…
Could they help but smile when a small fragile child bound into the world with the Holy Spirit’s fire wrapped around his flesh? Could they do anything but laugh at the gift of life?
Grace, indeed, has a grand laughter in it. We would do well to see it and give a hearty guffaw.