THE DAYS AFTER
She gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
The physical and emotional crash one experiences the days after any momentous event is real and often severe. Even if the event was positive, recovery time is needed. If the event was stressful, the exhaustion was even more of a challenge.
Having lived a lot of my life on road, I remember the trips which were difficult. You don’t quickly forget being stranded in an airport, sleeping on the floor in the corner of a lounge, or driving hundreds of miles in the middle of the night to ensure you’ll make your next engagement on time. Emotions are near the surface, fatigue colors everything in the dead of night.
I wonder what ’the day after’ was like for Mary and Joseph. They just traveled 80 miles on foot; physically demanding for anyone much less a woman at full-term pregnancy. They said goodbye to their families in Galilee. Did they know that they wouldn’t see them again for many years? Were they grieving that reality as they traveled? Finally, they arrived in Bethlehem, with Mary in final labor, only to find one inhospitable person after another. To resign yourself to the straw floor of a barn to bring about the birth of your first child must have felt unbelievable to them, perhaps like a bad dream.
The weariness they experienced on ‘the day after’ must have been incredible. As I remember their sacrifice, even on the days following Christmas morning, I am called to higher levels of devotion in my own spiritual life. Many, like Mary and Joseph, have paved the road for me to follow. I need only review their journeys.
Forgive me for any ways I have romanticized the Christmas story in order to make it more palatable. I want to see it as it was and embrace my own call completely. Amen.