“I will forget my complaint”
So, over the holidays (which of course, are still going on) I got to talking with a family member about all the things that can make the holiday season difficult. Okay, let’s call a spade a spade: we were whining.
And I thought about the phrase, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. You see it and hear it a lot over the month of December. It’s a wonderful reminder that amidst all the celebration, there’s something a lot more important than the presents and the music and the yummy foods.
But I started thinking about that phrase in terms of the difficult parts of Christmas, too. I started thinking ~ for some reason ~ about all the ways that this Christmas ~ or maybe the average Christmas ~ was like the first Christmas.
For instance, travel. Now, travel is a good thing, in and of itself. Whether you’re going to see friends and family, or going to see new places (or maybe both), travel is hard. It’s tiring and hectic and expensive. Much like it must have been for Mary and Joseph, going all the way to Bethlehem. Expensive? I’m thinking so. Tiring? Absolutely. Most estimates are that it took them about a week. On a donkey. I was exhausted after two plane flights in one day.
And then there’s family. We saw relatives from four different states this Christmas. Some of them came to us, others we made the trip to see. And while we enjoyed seeing everyone, being with family can be both good and bad. It’s good to see them, but sometimes you don’t have much in common with them, and maybe there are awkward silences or worse ~ disagreements about politics or some such. I wonder if Mary and Joseph found themselves traveling in a group with his family. After all, everyone of the line of David had to go to Bethlehem. Maybe there was some strange uncle or a brother of Joseph’s or something, that he didn’t really get along with, and not only were they having to travel a long distance, they were having to do so with family.
Also, towards the end of the wrapping portion of this Christmas season, I was nearly out of both tissue paper and boxes. I know all of that is available at the nearest store, but in the busyness, it just seemed like such a hassle, especially when we only had a handful of presents left to wrap.
Please remember, I already confessed to whining…
Anyhow, I was on this train of thought when it occurred to me that the first family was suffering from shortages, too. Things like food or blankets, and after Jesus was born, things like diapers ~ or whatever was used for diapers in those days. Their bags were small, I’m sure, so they didn’t have much.
Inconveniences, discomfort, cold, heat, people, hunger… Joseph and Mary ~ and even an infant Jesus ~ experienced troubles on that first Christmas. And somehow, remembering that ~ remembering Him ~ made me look at things with a new perspective, and appreciate everything in a way I don’t think I fully had before.
Now, I know I’ve made some assumptions here. This was just li’l ole me, trying to imagine what things might have been like, based on what the Bible tells me. And lucky for me, there are lessons in that! And the encouragement to quit whining, of course…
~ “Mary kept all these things
and pondered them in her heart” ~