They made the long trip to Bethlehem (well over 200 miles long). They barely got there before it was time for the baby to come into the world. According to Luke, there wasn't anywhere proper for her to have this baby so He was "born in a barn," or something like that. "Whew," one would think, "Now that that's over, we can rest!" But - three mysterious men show up a few days later with the oddest of baby gifts-gold, frankincense, and myrrh. They won't have trouble spending the gold, for sure, but what in the world can one do for a baby with delicate elements like the other two?
They are able to take a deep breath in the midst of a hectic time and a chaotic world. No one seems to know which way is up; everyone is on the move with this census thing. It's absolutely crazy and there's nowhere to lay the baby's head except on a pillow of hay and straw.
To top it all off, "an angel of the Lord" appears to Joseph in a dream and tells him they have to skedaddle. Herod has gotten wind of the Christ being born and that was just too much for his crazy, frenzied heart! He's threatening to have all the babies up to 2 years old slaughtered. So---Joe-goes. And, he takes his little family with him all the way to Egypt. There, the angel implies, they will be safe.
In the middle of the night he got them out of bed and left. The first night in a while that both were sleeping so well, and wham - when you think you're finally going to have some peace and quiet....
For us, today, we've had our Advent season (which in modern terms means "shopping season.") We've had our CHRISTmas Eve and Day celebrations; families have come and gone (or, we did the travelling this year and are back home). We still have a few more days of the 12-day season to go, but it's starting to slow down...some.
You think, "Ah, okay, a little peace and quiet."
And then, New Year's hits! Made your resolutions yet? Started that diet yet? Getting back into shape with those barbells or Stair-Master you got from Santa yet? Have you paid your first installment to the gym yet? Have you thrown out the turkey and sweets and..well, you catch my drift...
It's time to get back into the swing of things. It's that time of year to head back to work or school-and how hard it is because it is still really dark longer than it is light, and well - I admit, all the sugar in my body still just doesn't help when it's time to get out of bed at the end of all these holidays! Rats.
Good thing that Ash Wednesday isn't until March 1 this year...maybe we can get caught up on everything before we have to kinda' do it all over again! (Get into another routine, that is)
As the holly and the ivy get packed up once more, and I eye the last of the crumbs of the Chex Mix (I make a pretty mean Chex Mix, if I do say so myself), it is time to get back at it all.
Out with the old, and in with the new...but it's not always that easy, is it? We're sort of saying goodbye to 2016, and, there's a few things we're still not quite used to saying goodbye to...
Lately we've lost a lot of old friends in Hollywood and elsewhere. Many of us recall with heavy hearts our personal losses this year-in our congregational family and even our individual families. And, it's been hard. But, it's time to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and get back at it. Time is a bit of a meanie because it won't let us sit and grieve for too long before we have to get back up or get lost in life's shuffle.
For us Lutherans, it's back to mission and ministry! It's back to doing what God calls us to do on an everyday basis. Somehow last month - even though we threw a few dollars in a few red kettles and maybe picked up a few more groceries at the store for our food pantry - we stepped aside some responsibility to party and be with friends and family. Now, the parties are over and everyone else has gone home.
Now we must get back to "the loving-God-and-neighbor-as-self thing" again, all because God started it all. Nope, there's no rest for the weary, that's for sure. And, it IS the New Year, so don't forget the most important gift we received last week as we start all over again (whew!): the image (and truth) that...
God loves you and so do we!