(I posted this blog a few years ago, but in rediscovering, I thought it was still worth sharing at this time of year:)
I was thinking today that for the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas sure is freaking stressful. And I wondered why we couldn't all just go back to when times were simple and Christmas meant peace on earth and good will towards men. But then it hit me: even the first Christmas was ushered in in the midst of mind-numbing stress. Miles away from home, uncomfortably pregnant, and with no transportation but a donkey? A DONKEY?? And then you arrive only to discover either the hubby forgot to book reservations (and on a holiday!) or else someone bribed the night clerk to take your room and now you've got nowhere to sleep. That's gotta top the charts when it comes to stress. And just when it seems things couldn't possibly get any more insane -- you go into labor. Far from home, no place to stay, no hospital -- just a barn with dirty freaking floors and a bunch of smelly hay. No mom to hold your hand, no doctor to tell you it'll be alright -- just you and your husband, who ain't even you baby's daddy, and a bunch of furry animals, in the dark.
I can only imagine how she felt. If ever there were a time to freak out, to curse the heavens, to why me, to have a complete nervous break down -- this would be it. But then... But then -- a baby. And he's healthy. And you realize so are you. You made it through. And everything's going to be okay. And suddenly you're a family, and there's more love in your heart than you ever thought possible. In that moment that's all there is -- the stress has given way to the joy of family. To love. And you're at peace. Peace, joy, love, Christmas.
So if even MARY had to endure the stress of the season, maybe I can too. Especially knowing that in the end, everything's going to be alright. And maybe a little straw in the hair, a little sleepless nights, a little road rage -- maybe all of it's worth it because somehow it all points the way to Love...