Have you ever had that year where you are are not ready for Christmas or series of years? Maybe it is too busy, stressful, just a hard year, someone is missing, or you’re alone.
For whatever reason it seems like this year is one of those years. Maybe it is because Thanksgiving was so early. I have tried fifty different ways to “get in the spirit”. Nothing worked until I started thinking about the truth of Christmas. It is simple to get the fuzzies from talking about Jesus being born, but if you think about Mary and Joseph and the life they lived it was a hard year.
Israel had not heard from a prophet in four hundred years.
They had been invaded by the Romans.
Their king was more interested in protecting his power than protecting his people.
Mary and Joseph were middle class citizens, a manual laborer and his betrothed.
Mary turned up pregnant and Joseph knew it wasn’t his.
It took an act of God for him to accept her.
Mary goes to Jerusalem and comes back noticeably pregnant (Trip #1)
Mary takes care of her cousin who is pregnant and her uncle who was punished by God
Then a census is declared! They have to travel to another city just outside of Jerusalem just to pay outrageous taxes.
Joseph takes Mary as his wife (culturally saying the child is his – lots of shame….)
They go to Bethlehem (Trip #2)
Mary’s water breaks in the middle of the street and no one will even let her have the baby in a house. (Must have been the ride on the donkey)
Joseph finally gets a stable.
Mary gives birth to a baby without family and only her husband in front of animals.
They are set upon by loud shepherds
Honestly their year sounds worse than mine. So maybe the lesson here is not to muster up good feelings and sparkly smiles, but to trust God and in any circumstance realize that the trials of the time may be preparing you for the gifts God is giving you.