Monday, January 01, 2007

A Traditional Stressful Christmas

Saturday, December 16, 2006

So who's anticipating a traditional stressful Christmas, just like the first Christmas, yes you read that right. So I have bought very few presents, have school reports to write, a 240 mile round trip to drive and too endure all the family arguments that erupt after the blessed day when we realise it is bad idea to spend too much time together.

But isn't this just how it's meant to be, lets put away the cosy primary school nativity scenes and reflect on the true story, having just travelled for days. Mary heavily pregnant on a donkey Joseph walking alongside they get to their hometown for the compulsory government census. Joseph is your typical guy he wants to provide the best for his girl and is feeling pretty confident that God is in the situation after the angel's promises.

Only to find that he can't blag a room at the best hotel or even the rundown inn, his feeling a bit emasculated, annoyed, frustrated and probably angry, especially when his pride has too accept a stable. He doesn't even want to look at Mary's face as his heard her disappointment all too well already; after all if he had walked more quickly they may have got their quicker.

So the slightly bemused couple settle down for the night with some inquisitive animals who didn't expect to be sharing their quarters. Then low and behold the baby comes. Joseph is being a typical bloke and so tries to help by examining the strength of the manger (he is a carpenter after all!) as Mary struggles on her own to give birth.

Then shepherds come to visit, spending all day with sheep, means they are probably a bit socially inept and difficult to talk too, bringing yet another animal to share the cosy sleeping quarters fantastic. I think I have a good idea of how the conversation between God and I would have been at this point, it bit like 'what are you doing, is this meant to be funny?' Prehaps the shepherds could be seen as the example for trying to get on with extended and/or estranged family members.

Then there is the other side of the long journey, Mary and Joseph have already travelled far. But the wise men, travelled for months on camels. This puts my little planned journey in a comfortable heated car this year in context I suppose; maps and road signs are after all easier to follow than stars. Even last years horrid train journey, which lasted over 8 hrs because every train broke down, seems minor in comparison.

Then there are the presents, now Mary may have known her new born son's (the messiah's) eventual fate, but to be brought Myrrh an embalming lotion was a bit tactless and probably not very exciting, the gold would have been well received I'm sure though.

But throughout all this, stress, disappointment and awkwardness I'm sure their minds and fears were calmed by the ultimate truth of the first Christmas, which is why we endure everything else to celebrate it still.

The presence of God on Earth, Amen.

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