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  • Writer's pictureSam Kee

Mary’s Shame

Have you ever wondered why they sent Mary and Joseph away? There was no room at the inn. You would think a mother who was about to give birth would be given priority over any other traveler, but not Mary. Why?

Scandal followed this couple. They were pregnant outside of marriage. No innkeeper at that time wanted trouble on his hands by allowing them inside. Perhaps God would curse the business. No, it would be better to send the pregnant lady away.

Do you carry shame like that? People know who you are and what you’ve done, and they don’t want to associate with you. They snub you in public or don’t acknowledge you online. You’re a disgrace. Shame always makes you want to go underground.

When the innkeeper sent the anxious couple away, they had only one option: the birthing caves. Bethlehem was near Jerusalem, which was home to the temple. When travelers came to the temple, they would make animal sacrifices. That’s probably why the shepherds were nearby. The shepherds would have been Levites, who would be responsible for providing unblemished lambs for sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem. The shepherds delivered these special animals in ritually clean caves and received each lamb into a swaddling cloth. The swaddling cloth also was ritually clean in order to keep the lambs pure for proper sacrifices. All this took place underground.

Mary and Joseph went to one of these caves and gave birth to Jesus, where He was wrapped in a swaddling cloth. He was the Lamb of God, who would take away the sins of the world.

If shame is rightly carried, it changes into something pure. If shame is not handled the right way, then it leads to destruction. If it is respected and handled properly and borne with dignity, then it somehow atones for the sins around you. Your shame doesn’t have to end you, because your shame wants to play a role in new birth.

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