As I type this, Minnesota is bracing for the snow storm of THE WINTER, according to the weatherman. They have talked about it so much that everyone is filled with the jitters. I spent all day yesterday running errands and doing household chores that require electricity, in anticipation of being snowed in and without power. We are predicted to receive anywhere from 10-18” of snow, depending on which weather forecast we listen to and the storm is supposed to be traveling so slowly that it will last through the end of the week. Well, we’ll see.
Some of the projects I worked on yesterday were Christmas projects. And, as I worked, I started thinking of the parallel of our anxiety about the impending storm to the anxiety in Heaven as the angels waited for the birth of our Lord.
Think about it … we know there is a storm approaching and we watch the radar to see the multi-colored storm mass seemingly creep across the screen. Will it ever get here? When will it get here?
The angels must have felt the same way as they watched Joseph walking through the sand, leading a donkey carrying a very pregnant Mary on its back … 90+ long, dusty, rocky, hilly miles. Imagine how many times they had to stop so Joseph could sit down, so Mary could get off the donkey and walk around, so the donkey could rest. And that was during the day, not to mention finding a protected place to spend the night. Where is the water, the food, the fire, a comfortable place to lay down? A very slow dangerous trek, no matter how you slice it … one that probably took days and days. Certainly not anything like modern times, where we could cover that distance in about 1 ½ hours in the luxury of an air-conditioned vehicle with cozy seats.
These three must have appeared as tiny blips on the angels’ radar screen. Tiny blips that hardly moved. The angels must have almost collided into each other, nervously pacing, thinking: ‘Would they EVER get to Bethlehem? When WILL they get there? We have news to tell, songs to sing, stars to release! THIS IS BIG!! Hurry, hurry!’ Can you even begin to imagine their anxiety level??
And, then, finally, like the slow-moving winter storm, Mary and Joseph arrive at their appointed destination: Bethlehem. Exhausted from the long trip, they look forward to a room with a bed, a hot meal, some water for bathing, shelter for their faithful donkey. After all, Mary is due to deliver at any time. But, the hustle and bustle is crazy because of the mandated census and everything is full … sorry, no rooms available.
As we continue to wait for the big storm, only a few snowflakes are drifting down. Just a taste of what is to become. We know that; we can’t listen to enough weather forecasts or check enough radar screens or look out the window often enough. When will it get here? How much snow will we get? Will we be able to get to a main road? We grow more anxious as the hours stretch on, waiting, waiting. Likewise, the angels must have been going crazy with what they were seeing.
A kind hearted innkeeper told Joseph and Mary about a stable down the street that might be something to consider; he apologetically knew of nothing else available. There was no other option. As Joseph slowly led the donkey and its precious cargo down the street, he probably worried about the condition of the stable. Was it big enough? Would it be clean and quiet? Would he be able to keep it warm enough? What if it was filled with animals and their smells? How would he make Mary comfortable? And, finally, would this be the place Mary’s baby would be born in?
We don’t know much about the conditions of the stable itself. We don’t know if there were any animals present; we sing about the cattle lowing but were they really there? Was it clean, quiet and warm? No idea. How comfortable could Mary have been? Probably not very. But, we DO know that a baby was born in that stable. And, that must have been the moment the angels went nuts! Singing! Dancing! Music! Lights! They were gettin’ busy!! I liken it to the moment that Clark Griswold finally gets his outdoor Christmas lighting to work in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
And that’s when things really started getting CRAZY GOOD! That’s when our lives changed forever … for the BETTER!!
Much like the snowstorm we are watching, when it finally hits, that’s when we’ll get busy. It won’t have the same results at all; it will probably only be enjoyable to the snowmobilers and skiiers. It’ll be back to business as normal for us. We probably won’t think about Bethlehem or the majestic event that occurred there 2000+ years ago as we’re shoveling, or blowing snow, or pushing vehicles out of ditches. We probably won’t give a thought to the significance of the lowly manger that held that precious baby or how Jesus’ life would form ours. And, sadly, we probably won’t even recognize how much we need Him every day.
So, as we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of our Lord and Savior, let us remember how long we waited for Him. Let us be reminded of what He brought us, what He taught us, how He loves us.
My favorite Christmas saying this year is:
Dance like Frosty
Shine like Rudolph
Give like Santa
Love like Jesus
Let us move forward in a new direction and dedicate our lives to live and love like Him.
Merry Christmas from all of us at Cross The World!