Finding the Joy amidst Troubling Times

These past 4 days or so have been, can I dare say, brutal. Last week we received news that a much beloved cousin of my Mom’s died in a tragic car accident. The shockwave of that was felt, and is still felt, throughout the family.

On Friday, my son discovered that my car was missing while taking out the garbage. Say What?! Taken straight out of my driveway. So not what you need to happen just before Christmas.  Now there’s calling the police, the insurance company and a few others just to have all our bases covered.  Thank God my husband stepped up and took care of most of the calling. I was in shock. I felt violated. We had a wedding to go to, Christmas coming up, work, and my most pressing thought was ‘How are we going to do it without the car?’

Needless to say I didn’t end up going to work that day. Not a hardship, except that the time now has to be made up. *sigh*

The wedding  was out of town and I wondered if we were even going to be able to make it. Again, my husband, managed to arrange for a rental car and to confirm that insurance will cover the cost. Yay!

The wedding was an amazing celebration of life and legacy. I don’t normally cry at weddings but there moments when I was reaching for a tissue. So lovely.  It was the birth of something magical and the marriage of not only two people, but two cultures, two families. So beautiful.

With all that was going wrong, it would’ve been so easy to let that overshadow such a joyous occasion. We determined to enter into the moment fully, and although we did talk about the things that were happening, we did not allow it to detract from the moments of joy that this wedding was full of.  We looked for the joy, we held onto it, we celebrated it, and we embraced it with all we had in us.

With today being Christmas Eve, as I think about all that we had experienced in the past week, I have to wonder if Mary, too had to look and  reach for the joy in her moment of giving birth.  There was so much going on then, that was wrong, that was difficult. I mean, you travel for weeks on end while advancely pregnant on a donkey and let’s see how joyful you would feel in that moment. Then, to top it all off, you can’t find a hotel room to save your life and now you’re in labour.  I can’t imagine that she was feeling all that great about things. 

Can you imagine being that last inn keeper having to refuse yet another weary traveller, when you look over, and there by (or on) a donkey is a young girl, swollen with an advanced pregnancy. Perhaps she is clutching her because  a contraction has gripped her and its all she can do to stay upright. You don’t feel right about just leaving them to fend for themselves so in desperation you offer your stable. It’s nothing fancy, mind you. Just a hollow in the hill and it’s full of the animals of other travellers. The look of gratitude, shakes you. Perhaps you send for a midwife or see if one of the women lodging with you would be willing help this new young family.

It is there in that moment, I wonder if Mary thought, “That’s it! This is really hard. Joseph, you go have this baby. I’m done.”  Yet she pushed through it all, for the joy of holding this baby. And oh, the wonder when He is placed on her still heaving body. He’s crying and she holds Him close to share body heat. As most parents do, they counted fingers and toes, smoothed hair, cooed. Maybe, Joseph swaddled Him, with strict instructions on how to do it from his wife, or perhaps she did it herself when she was able. That first moment when Mary and Jesus laid physical eyes on each other, that sacred moment in time, is when joy came and she embraced it. Pondered it. Saved it. Witnessed miracles because of it.

It is Christmas. A season of much joy and miracles, if you would but look for them. My friends, no matter your circumstance, no matter what is, or has, befallen you; reach for the joy. Hold onto it. Ponder it. Foster it.  Allow it to heal the raw spaces and bring a much needed peace.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours.


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