Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thinking about Mary

Yeah  Life has been busy.  Lots of lists, things to buy, how to budget the last few items I always forget about, extra good cleaning for overnight guests, how to share appreciation for all those around me who do so much to make my life better without going any further into debt, trying to remember just why it is we do all this preparation for this funny day so late in our calendar year.

I helped out with my church’s Christmas program this year.  It was quite honestly one of the most wonderful things I’ve done with children in awhile.  After all these years focusing on younger children, I had the chance to work with 5th graders.  Big kids. 

I helped them with the bible readings.  So for weeks before the program, I had the opportunity to go over and listen to the selected readings with these kids again and again.  The bible is definitely not a favorite book in my “arsenal”.  But the story of Jesus’ birth (as historically improbable the need to record people in their hometown is) makes me think. 

Being a mother, I’ve been lamenting over the story of Mary.  All that we know of her tells us that she was young, and held a very strong faith in God.  She was from a good family.  Okay.  So her fiancé was about to ditch her when she said she was pregnant with God’s child through the Holy Spirit.  Nice.  Not that I wouldn’t have done the same; her story sounds crazy, but his reaction doesn’t put Joseph in any “holy hierarchy” light.  He only agreed when the angel (Gabriel?) came to him and told him to man up and marry her. 

Then this nutty, and improbable travel to Bethlehem came up.  Mary is “well with child”, she’s getting ready to settle down and prepare for the birth.  And Joseph takes her on a trip, for what must have taken a good couple of weeks, to make the government happy.  Away from her friends and any family who might have helped her.  I’m not thinking that Joseph was either or brought along a midwife.  Then, he obviously didn’t “call ahead” cause they couldn’t find a room to rent for their stay.  Really? 

And in the two nativity scenes I have at my home, and pretty much all those currently produced, Mary looks calm and happy.  She gave birth to her first-born son, who she strongly believes to be the son of God, in a stable with smelly animals.  Then they open their “new digs” to visitors, important ones even. Sounds like a fun time.

So we will be hosting my husband’s wonderful parents off and on during their stay in Minnesota.  My husband is currently on a trip, and will return the same day his parents arrive.  He has taken a new position this year, and has needed to spend extra time reorganizing the program and such.  My calendar has at least one extra event on almost every day until the new year.  And just because we're extra busy, the paychecks don't come extra often, and I continue to juggle when I need to.  So it’s been pretty much up to me to take on all that is Christmas.  (*He did do a wonderful job decorating outside and in - thanks, sweetie!) 

Every time I get down when I’m dealing with these crazy-long lists of “must haves” we create for ourselves, I think about Mary.  She (seems to have) kept her calm, and held onto her faith in God that everything would work out.  Really.

Now I’m not about to give birth and going on a long, arduous journey.  I do not have worries about my honor and marital status (as far as I know :) ).  My main responsibility is to make sure my family and friends feel loved and appreciated and most welcome in my home.  I have often missed that mark in the past, as I held my focus on the shallow ideals of having all the perfect “things” for Christmas.  I have become frustrated with many, failed to be appreciative of loads, and become angry and sullen right in the midst of what should have been a celebration of a new life (His and mine). 

Honestly, I’m still going to push myself too hard.  Stay up too late.  Worry about too many little things.  Freak out about timing and perfection at least twice.  But I am making a commitment to myself to remember to take a deep breath and remember Mary.  And then, say a prayer of thanks that my calling is not her’s.  I’m pretty sure I would’ve told that angel, “Thanks, but no thanks.”  And then where would we be?

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