Monday, December 22, 2008

A Few Days Before the First Christmas

The Christian world is making great preparations for one of the more Holy of Christian holidays - Christmas. Considering its import, very little is actually known of the events leading up to and the very day of Christmas. In fact, it seems a significant portion of Christiandom is confused even on the specific day on which the celebration should be held.

I recall the months leading up to the birth of my children. How we made preparations for those things we could and worried about those things over which we had not control. I remember once going to the Hospital for false labor. My choice of apparel was not appreciated by those nurses who happened to read George Carlin's "Sometime a little brain damage can help" comment on the back. We weren't there for very long before the medical staff had determined the nature of her contractions. Those stopped and we returned home. That was as close as the child came to ever making the effort unaided. Weeks later, we were still pregnant and had to schedule inducement. Our second baby, she was born because of an earthquake and Dearest's undeniable fear of moving ground. We spent the day at the hospital and she was born during the Oprah show. The sound track: Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits. Baby number three: The doctors, worried about the possibility of a very large baby, induced labor a little early.

So, I sit here pondering on the eve of the celebration, wondering just what was Mary and Joseph doing two days before the Babe was laid to rest in a manger; "because there was no room for them in the inn." Consigned to travel to Bethlehem while nine-months pregnant, this could not have been a day full of leisure and comfort for Mary. Two days before His birth, Mary and Joseph were probably traveling. We conjure visions of the pregnant Mary riding on a donkey led by Joseph, going from inn to inn looking for a place to stay. Most women would be nesting, getting ready for the baby to come. Mary didn't have such pleasures.

The weeks leading up to our first daughter's birth, I was driving a 1957 VW pickup truck. I'm sure there were times when Dearest thought it would be better to be riding on the back of a donkey.
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