This evening I had a revelation and what better place to have it than in a church. I listened to the lesson I have heard many many times before, Luke chapter two, verse 16: "And they came and found "Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger."
Note the comma. This is a very important comma. A comma which prevents the image of Mary and Joseph all together in the manger with baby Jesu.
But maybe that interpretation is actually the more accurate. As a mother I know that when you have just given birth to an amazing miracle of life from within you, you want to do nothing other than hold your baby, to explore the tiny hands and feet and of course to breast feed straight away.
Your baby - equally strongly - not realising that it has become physically separated from you, wants to be snuggled warm and close to you and to hear your heart beat, just as it's heard the beat for a whole nine months' gestation.
I'd wager that swaddling baby Jesus and putting him amongst the hay on his own probably wasn't on his agenda, and likely he was vocal in that regard. With everyone being so tired, and not being in a house but in an animal shelter, what's the betting that Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus were actually all snuggled together in the hay for warmth. - without that comma. It's a scene most parents of newborn will recognise and far more likely I reckon.
Merry Christmas everyone!