“Did Jesus lie in a manger?”: reflecting on 2 years of blogging

“Did Jesus really lie in a manger?” My friend put the question out there and let it hang for a bit. “Because it’s basically a cot, isn’t it?” she smiled.

Three of us sat with cups of tea and our five children with whom we probably all sleep or have slept with at some point. I suddenly saw my nativity set in a whole new light.

We agreed it seemed unlikely that he wouldn’t have slept beside his mother. I look at the figurines I bought before I had Talitha. They now look strange to me.

This mainly boils down to my own experience. Since my newborn wouldn’t be put down and because I hardly ever put her down, I actually find it strange to see a small baby anywhere but in arms or in sling.

Others may find it odd to see me carrying a toddler everywhere, I suppose.

I look at the nativity scene and want to put the Son of God back into his mother’s arms. He was still a baby, after all.

I’ve experienced the last two Advents in a wholly new way. In 2010 I was pregnant and I imagined Christ as an unborn child, wholly vulnerable, attached to placenta, preparing to be born.

The next I had just come through six of the most difficult and rewarding months of my life. I wondered what kind of nursling Jesus had been, when might he have sat up and did Mary sometimes tear her hair out wondering why he wouldn’t stop crying.

This year, I think about the fact that he was probably breastfed beyond infancy. I wonder when he began to talk.

I’m preparing to consciously observe Advent with Talitha for the first time, to build traditions and guide her through a season of beauty and light. Motherhood has coloured the world I live in.

I see it in the pages of the Bible. I throw off my Protestant anxieties around Mary and find myself curious as to what her mothering was like. I notice God’s mother-heart.

This Christmas I feel like I’m really beginning to find my way. It’s our first Christmas as a family in our own space (well, in the majority – we’re going away at some point).

I’m ready to start laying down traditions that Talitha will remember in years to come. I really want to make it special for her just as my mother made it special for me.

It’s just another part of the huge responsibility and privilege I’m discovering my role in her life to be.

I’ve also now been blogging at Circus Queen for over two years. I can hardly believe it.

Lately, I’ve been so busy and emotional that I almost decided to say goodbye to it.

It may have been hormones as my cycle returned (don’t you love that I tell you everything?). It may have been a bit of insecurity over what I’m doing as a mother now that someone else is looking after Talitha for a few hours each week.

I think I started wondering whether what I write here is worth saying. I’ve hesitated because gradually nappies, milk and all the other small bits of life with a baby began to seem too trivial to blog about. And that’s bizarre because I still religiously read other blogs that write about those things.

Then, while I was musing about the thing with Mary and Christmas it hit me that perhaps there’s a part of me that’s started to undervalue motherhood and childhood. Do I subconsciously think that these little things we do together from day to day are not really important and that’s the real reason I’ve been hesitant about getting my thoughts out on to the screen?

The truth is, I don’t think that at all. It may not feel like I’m doing much from day to day but I’m shaping someone’s history. I’m sending her the earliest messages about who she is. That’s huge.

Mothers have immense value. After all, God thought even Jesus should have one.

Oh, and I’m not leaving. In fact, I’ve decided to post more regularly.

[she/her] • writer • unschooler • team Soul Farm • Revillaging podcast • breastfeeding counsellor • Trinidadian in Cornwall

Join the discussion

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I was telling my three the christmas story today and mentioned the manger and hesitated when I processed what I was saying. I doubt Mary was under pressure to get Jesus independently sleeping asap!
    As for your blog, I hope it is still as useful for you as it is for us. I have recently questioned how much of my energy is expended on my blog. I have decided I would like to redirect some of that towards the children. Will keep blogging though because I love it.
    Another essay, sorry.
    Purplemum recently posted..Review – Soreen

  • Glad you’ll keep going. It is an odd transition when you first child is old enough that you CAN start to think more about other stuff because then you start to feel that you MUST think about other stuff. Of course we are more than ‘just’ mums with other interests and things to offer but, while I want to make the most of those things, I’m now comfortable admitting that they are just not as important to me as they used to me without feeling I’m somehow letting down my friends/my education/womankind.

  • Glad to hear you’re not going anywhere! I had a really long break from blogging when I had morning sickness and I did even question what the point was for a very short time but I have my full blog enthusiasm back again now. I think it’s natural to have phases where you question blogging and at the end of the day if it just takes a little break to bring all the reasons back then that’s great! X

  • I was raised Catholic so the nativity scene has been part of my life forever, but for the two and a bit years I’ve been a mum this has never even occurred to me! But now I too am wondering what kind of a mum Mary would have been, and I’m thinking the manger is probably just another example of western culture dictating the interpretation of the Bible.
    I think it’s natural as a blogger, and a mum, to question what we are doing. But I’m glad you’re still writing!

  • HEY!! I LOVE your blog. It has made my laugh and cry and given me inspiration and made me reflect on my own parenting, and helpfully has given me a heads up for what is coming a few months down the line (Rafi is a few months younger than Talitha). Also it won me a fabulous new nursing bra. Also, I recommended it the other day to a new mum having trouble nursing.

    Hope that’s enough to be getting on with! xx



    A long open box or trough for horses or cattle to eat from.

    I am totally pro-cosleeping, but the idea of the son of God having such a humble start to life is really inspiring to me. And if he was of those “other” babies, who actually slept sometimes when he wasn’t being held by someone (Rafi never did), then fair play to Mary for taking a break, after spending days riding a donkey to get to Bethlehem. One way to induce labour!