Last One In

Christmas has come late for me this year. Any number of circumstances have robbed me of time to dwell in the season, and for the most part, have left me feeling more stressed than joyful.

Yesterday my last "work" responsibility before vacation started was doing Godly Play in our service last night. This was no small task, because the Advent story is pretty long and I have had little time to look at it this week. But I have done it before, and for the kids' sake (and the grown-ups too although they don't often appreciate it!) I wanted to do it.

As I was preparing, the line: "Joseph and Mary must have been the last ones coming up the road to Bethlehem that night" struck deep in my heart. I am definitely the last one coming up the road to Bethlehem this year. I have been waylaid by a million tasks that I was faithful to complete. With each of those tasks, the crowd of travelers drew further and further away, and I found myself standing on the dark road, weary and a little sad.

But God is faithful, and He walked that road with me to meet Him. He gave me the strength to finish my tasks well. And today He has blessed me with the time to sit, and look at the tree, and tend to my home with joy, and prepare gifts for friends and family. I spend a lot of energy at Christmas making it as meaningful as possible for the people around me, and that makes me joyful.

So today I will complete my labors of love with peace and joy, for the sake of the one born in Bethlehem.