Merry Christmas to you all. I feel so honored to have you in my life, even though I haven’t met most of you in person. I write for you from my heart and I’m honored when you send such loving comments reflecting your love back to me. I know how busy you all are, yet throughout the year many of you have taken time to share your love with me. And to those of you who haven’t written to me, I know in my heart you are a SHE just like me and I love you.
As I write this, (it’s December 20) it’s a cold and dreary Washington, winter, Saturday morning (which I love because it makes my home office that much more cheerful and cozy). Terry has built a fire for tonight and I have a chicken I’ll put in the oven when we get back from our walk. I have my lamp with the three-way bulb on the dimmest choice and on my window sill; I have a candle burning that smells like evergreen.
Terry and I are set to walk in the rain, when I finish this blog. We’ve got Gor-Tex coats and pants so when we come in from our trek in the hills, we’ll be dry as two freshly diapered babies.
In thinking about this Christmas, of course my family comes into my mind first. Families change and sometimes that’s the hardest part of the holidays for us. Our parents get old and pass on and things just aren’t the same. Our kids grow up and move away and we have to resign ourselves to Skype and sending packages in the mail. Siblings can get in snits and stop speaking, health issues can weigh us down and a million other piddle dinking problems can try to claim air time in our minds during this holy season.
While sitting here, I let my mind wander to Bethlehem and I wondered if Joseph and Mary ever had stressful holidays. Did their parents want them to split Hanukah between the two families? Did they have to have latkes at one house and noodle kugel and beef brisket at another? Did they have to promise to light half the candles on the menorah in one home and the other half in another? Did they have gluten intolerant relatives? Did some kids in the family get in trouble with the law? Were there any family members who weren’t speaking? Did their moms compete for babysitting time with Jesus?
After thinking back in history, I concluded that of course things don’t always go smoothly for any family, even Jesus’s. Then my brain went into what I call, “what if,” mode! I love it when that happens!
What if there was Face Book, smart phones and texting back then! I can just see Mary’s mom posting on Face Book, a photo Joseph had taken with his cell phone, of his mother-in-law holding her grandson, baby Jesus, and Joseph’s mom seeing it and being jealous because she doesn’t live near the new parents. I can see her having a fit because she hadn’t even received any photos of the new baby! (Pretend Joseph wasn’t good at calling his mom and sending photographs.)
Or what if Joseph’s mom posted a photo on Face Book of Mary and Joseph's new donkey cart and Mary’s mom saw it and said to her husband, “Where’d they get the money to get that when all they can dress the baby in is swaddling clothes?”
I never learned that much about Mary and Joseph’s parents or much about Jesus’s brothers and sisters, or aunts and uncles either, but I’m sure things weren’t peachy all the time. In fact, there is little written in scripture about the others in the family. Scholars and theologians have been debating these people for nearly two millennia, arguing whether those brothers and sisters mentioned here and there were in fact biological siblings, step-siblings, “half” siblings, or not even siblings at all, but cousins.
It really doesn’t matter, because what matters now as much as it did back then and for always, is that love is what the season is all about. We came here to live life and live it more abundantly, so at least during this season of love and joy let’s just do that.
The video I share with you today stars five of our 12 grandchildren. Those actors have grown up. Two of them are now 20, one is 17 and two are 15. I hope you enjoy the story we made.