By Linda Hancock on December 23, 2023.
As I sit in my warm condo, looking out at the snow, I think of the story from ancient scriptures that resulted in the worldwide holiday that we refer to as Christmas.
The story tells of a time when a young pregnant woman (a virgin no less) and the man chosen by God to accompany her had to travel to Bethlehem to pay their taxes. Transportation came in the form of one donkey which meant that Joseph had to walk beside while Mary rode.
The town of Bethlehem was so busy and I don’t imagine there was any way to book a hotel room in advance, so the young couple went from place to place hoping to find a room. Imagine how difficult it must have been to be rejected over and over again. Finally, one inn keeper had compassion and offered them a room in his barn. How many of us would have been humble enough to accept this without even being upset?
Think of the smell! Sheep, cows, lambs and other animals had the barn as their home and now they had to share it with these strangers.
No fancy bedding, down-filled pillows, spa baths or baby items! Just hay and a wooden manger.
There is no mention of medical personnel or equipment. In fact, it seems as though it might have been up to the young Joseph to help with the birth. Wouldn’t that have been a shocker for him? And how difficult it was for Mary to know that she was responsible for giving birth to this child.
I’m not sure what they ate. There wasn’t any mention of room service or a nearby deli.
None of the Christmas pictures show any luggage. I don’t know if they had any extra clothing or where they got the cloth in which they wrapped the baby.
I have never heard of any modern star-gazers who have followed a star for miles or of a star that would have shone so brightly for the time it took to arrive at the destination. There were shepherds, however, who left their flocks to see why it shone so brightly over the stable. Wise men who were presumably astronomers also arrived with precious gifts as they had been expecting a miracle. Now that is faith!
The story goes on and the child grows to make a significant mark on the world. That was over two thousand years ago and yet we still read, listen to and tell the story to others.
How might you have handled that first Christmas if you had been Mary? Or Joseph? Would you have left your work like the shepherds to see what was happening? And would you have been wise enough to travel for miles with precious gifts because you believed something wonderful was happening?
Well, this month you have the opportunity to ponder about these things and decide what Christmas means to you.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventureâ€¦every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice. Visit http://www.LindaHancock.com or email her at email@example.com.