A friend recently wrote, â€śRelax dur ing the holidays. Enjoy this wonderful time.â€ť Ha!
Easy for him to say.
How can we relax when there is so much to do?
We have to plan, shop for gifts, buy the gifts, buy the bows, wrap the gifts, deliver the gifts, find cards, address cards, buy stamps, stamp the ca-rds, mail cards, bake, clean, shop for food, put up a tree, decorate the tree, cook, clean some more, find the lights, hang them outside, be cheerful, find something to wear to the parties, attend parties, write thank-you notes, pack, buy the plane ticket and donate to charities.
I donâ€™t think Mary had it much easier. Can you imagine being nine months pregnant and traveling 70 miles? She, of all people, may have been able to relax.
But I can imagine her thinking, â€śNo room at the inn, after that trip? All I wanted was a soft bed and a hot bath. Now, I need bed clothes, baby clothes, baby wipes, bottles, pacifiers, diapers, announcement cards not everyone heard the angelsâ€”thank-you notes (even for those strange gifts from the foreigners did they leave an address?) and air freshenerâ€”those cows, phew.â€ť
Poor Mary. When the angel told her she was having Godâ€™s son, she might have imagined it would be easy, if not glamorous.
Maybe her experience is why some of us are hard-wired to make December challenging. We will not deliver the son of God, but we can kill ourselves trying to deliver presents designed to celebrate his birth.
Our expectations of ourselves run so high this season. We have memories to live up to.
Or we are desperately trying to create new memories to erase ones that have never lived up to the hype. Some of us, brought up in traditions that saw Christmas as just another day to celebrate the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, may have had it right: the mere fact that God came as a helpless baby to an apathetic world is a reason to celebrate all the time, not just in December.
My friend, who can relax in this season, may have a point. The shepherds visited, the Magi gave and the angels sang. So maybe we do not have to do it all.
Fortunately, there are many ways to share the joy that a baby born in a barn made it possible for us to live in mansions for eternity.
Whatever your strategy for marking Jesusâ€™ earthly arrival, may you live your life changed by his love.
Lorri Allen is news director for KYTX-CBS19.