photo 3In a lovely Advent tradition, various crib figures, wrapped in paper towel to disguise them, are placed in a basket. Each person takes a figure to reflect on in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This year my surprise companion was a midwife, someone not usually found in a nativity scene but almost certainly present at the birth in the stable. She might have been a woman in the inn or a neighbor called for when the young girl Mary went into labor. This led me to reflect on other invisible people in the Christmas story. We have shepherds but no shepherdesses, kings but no queens, and even a drummer boy but no drummer girl. No story is really complete until it includes those who are present at the scene and whose essential contributions are often overlooked in society, then and now. Working at the United Nations gives NGOs many opportunities to advocate on behalf of those who are generally voiceless in global decision-making and to bring them and their expertise into the chambers of power. And we sometimes act as midwives as new and effective approaches to meeting global goals are being formulated.


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