Two weeks before Christmas, and an empty, undecorated tree stands lonely in the corner. A small pile of gifts are unwrapped, tucked away in a cupboard from peeking eyes. The kitchen is somewhere beneath itself, as mice decided to move in for a night and now the cupboards must be scrubbed. A workload sits heavier on the heart than in the planner. Cards are still in the packaging, still in the shopping bag. Something unkind was more than muttered during the long commute home. Trips must be planned, parties are to be held, and the dust bunnies have mutated into giant bears. I think they’re even growling.

A couple years ago, my mother gave me an ornament that is currently hanging in that kitchen. It reads, ‘God rest ye merry gentlemen… the women are too busy!’ As women, it seems that the joy of the holiday falls on us to fulfill. We are the glue that binds family, purchases the right presents, gets them wrapped, coordinates activities, remembers church commitments, writes the Christmas cards, lights the candles, plans the meals… so when do we enjoy our silent nights? When it is exactly that, long after the rest of the house is slumbering. We burn the midnight oil so this will be a full Christmas for those we love.

But what about our hearts?

When do we breathe? How do we enjoy this time of Advent? What must we loosen from our grasp so we may instead grasp the tiny hands that make Christmas what it is – a birthday celebration of the highest importance?
She rode a donkey, while nearing labor. She RODE a DONKEY while nearing LABOR. She’d been teased and ostracized, chastened by an angel visit  that shook her life and filled her soul. No doulas assisted, no nurses fussed. Just a husband was leaned on to fill the roles of doctor and coach and father. No onesies or tiny diapers were available, just strips of cloth from who knows where. No nursery to send Him to so she could rest, just the baleful eyes of donkeys and sheep.

She probably cried. I hope she let herself cry. And then I hope she let herself laugh til she cried again at the sheer bizarre and beautiful wonder of it all – the coming shepherds, the Life her Son would live, the angel chorus making brilliant the night sky, a braying donkey the soundtrack, her new husband by her side… and a Babe. Her sweet baby. Born to make her a mama and to make us whole. And then she praised the One who orchestrated it all.
Neither did she enjoy a silent night or a midnight clear. God rested her merry gentlemen ’cause you know she was too busy! She did not have a calm Christmas. But in the middle of it, right there WITH her in the un-calm, was the One whom all the noise was about. We too can find Him, and all that He brings, amidst our everyday crazy.

{girl with blog}

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