Daily Archives: January 8, 2011

Is Christmas Supposed to be Exhausting?


This past December 23rd as I fell exhausted into bed I thought back to all the years my mother talked about how tiring Christmas was.  Throughout the last few months the big question on the lips of most people I know was, “Are you ready for Christmas?”  Well, whether we were ready or not, Christmas came.*

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, many people feel all kinds of pressure.  Some worry they won’t be able to get the finishing touches done, some struggle with choosing the perfect gift, while many struggle with being able to provide anything special at all.  There are issues of excessive commercialism struggled with as well as efforts to find lost spirituality.  With all this we wonder why it is so hard, what we are doing wrong? As I lay there, mind open to God, it occurred to me that maybe we are meant to reach Christmas Eve physically and emotionally tired, worried, and all but hopeless.

I realize the idea seems strange, but stay with me.  Mary was nine months pregnant.  For the past several weeks it would have been all she could do to carry out the everyday tasks without becoming out of breath, her back would have been sore, along with other common issues of pregnancy.  On top of this she had dealt with at least six months of gossip going around her community about her pregnancy.  As a young, first-time mother I am certain that she wanted nothing more than to be at home with her mother and other family members around to support her through the birth of her baby.  As the last days of waiting approached what did Mary hear? “Road trip!”  Packing, planning, worry about finances and the dangers of the road, what fun!

On the road from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem, which depending on your source is 79 or 80 miles as the crow flies, Mary walked or rode their donkey for approximately three days straight.  Presumably at some point on the last day (not in December incidentally) she began having contractions.  Riding into Bethlehem she must have been weary, frightened,  and when she got the news that there was no room for them I imagine she felt like giving up!

So, there we were on Christmas Eve, with Mary, feeling drained and hopeless and then…a tiny infant breathes his first breath and hope is born into the world once again!  Glory be to God in the highest; on earth peace; good will toward men Luke 2:14

*Of course, I realize that there are millions in the world who do not celebrate Christmas at all.

The Prayers


The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we forgive our debtors. *
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

the power and the glory,

for ever.

Amen.

The Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ

Have mercy on me.

23rd Psalm

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green  pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.  He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.  Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

* this line has various versions and many churches use the words, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” and the more modern version uses, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.”