According to scripture, Joseph and Mary traveled to Bethlehem to be counted in a census. I imagine it was very difficult for Mary, who was far along in her pregnancy. To make matters worse, there was no place for them to stay, so she and Joseph ended up sleeping in a stable, which was also where Mary gave birth.
My husband and I have a variety of Nativity sets displayed around the house. Some depict a very clean and sanitary setting with a smiling Jesus surrounded by animals. If you’ve been around cows and horses and chickens, you know the stable couldn’t have been that clean.
I’ve interviewed a number of fistula survivors and many of them also gave birth in unhygienic settings. Others, after being in labor for 4, 5, even 6 days, tried to make the difficult journey to a clinic to give birth. Sadly, I met these women because their prolonged labor and delivery resulted in a fistula.
Dignity:Liberia plans to make room for pregnant women to stay in close proximity to professional medical support where they will receive prenatal care and nutrition. That “room” will be our maternity waiting home, House of Hope and Dignity.
The home will need to be stocked with supplies for the women who stay there. Many of these items can be found on our Amazon wish list. This Christmas, if you are able, please consider making a purchase from this list.
In closing, I would like to include a few lines from one of my favorite carols, In the Bleak Midwinter, based on the poem by Cristina Georgina Rosetti:
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him?
Give Him my heart.
Kathy Beth Stavinoha
Kathy Beth lives and works in Austin, TX. She graduated from high school in Monrovia, Liberia in 1977.