Monday, December 31, 2012

Joseph, Dads, and Random Thoughts to Round Out 2012

I wanted to share this picture one of my best friends got for me for Christmas to hang in my famous bathroom.   Maybe you've seen it before, but it was new to me.  I loved it. 

"Nativity" by Brian Kershisnik

The focus on nearly all nativities is baby Jesus - rightfully so - followed up with Mary.  My animal-loving 7-year-old would say the sheep and cows are the second most important feature of the nativity.  Rarely do we focus on Joseph.  This depiction was one of the most interesting I've ever seen for 3 reasons.

Reason 1:  Mary can't see Joseph's face and he doesn't know all those angels are surrounding him.  He must have felt tremendous pressure all those months leading up to the birth, about to father the Son of God on Earth.  And then the strenuous journey with his laboring wife, not able to find someplace for her to give birth.  While he didn't have the media to provide him with scary birth images, I imagine there was some anxiety about the actual birth.  After the Savior was born, the relief must have been overwhelming.  I'm sure also on his mind was what was to come.

I just want to put this out there that I think many dads feel the way Joseph might have felt.  I'm sure he loved Mary very much and wanted her to be safe and happy.  I have lots of moms in class that want to birth out of the hospital, but the dads are scared.  I've seen a lot of emotions on both sides, but I just want moms to remember that he has likely been exposed to fear in our modern culture surrounding birth.  He loves you and may still have some fear of his own to work through.  It's a lot of pressure to become a dad, supporting and caring for his wife and new baby.  Help him through education, but have some empathy along the way.

My famous bathroom
Reason 2:  Mary is breastfeeding!  This is why the picture will find it's way to my bathroom walls.  I've commented before that of course she breastfed baby Jesus, and I'm sure she co-slept too.  "Away in a Manger" always cracks me up when we sing about "no crib for a bed" - surely it was written by an American, for I don't know that other cultures would worry about not having a crib!

Reason 3:  I love the angels surrounding the scene.  I'm sure the heavens rejoiced when the day finally came when Christ was born, come to Earth to save us all.  On a much more personal level, I believe angels surround each one of us.  I believe they are actually relatives that have already passed on, sent to help us by our loving Heavenly Father, to help answer our daily prayers on our earthly journey. 

As we round out 2012, it's been a wonderful and exciting year.  Launching Birth Boot Camp was intense, but I am so proud of what my team and I have put together.  2013 promises to be another great year.  I love the goal-setting aspect of starting a new year.  We have many exciting goals to accomplish, and I truly believe that getting there is half the fun!  May there be many babies born this next year by parents who have wonderful and empowering births.  Set a goal to breastfeed your baby.  It will be one of the greatest and sweetest experiences of your life.

A quote to end with by Theodore Roosevelt:  "Be practical as well as generous in your ideals.  Keep your eyes on the stars, but remember to keep your feet on the ground."  Thank you for allowing me to be a small part of your life this past year.  Here's to 2013 and another great year!

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