The birth of Jesus is not the end of the story. Yes, it is the advent, the arrival that we celebrate at Christmas. But this baby still had to live, he had to grow and learn, he had to start his ministry, he had to gather his disciples, he had to teach, he had to suffer and he had to die.
And there was persecution and challenges right from the start. The second chapter of Matthew details the jealous vendetta of King Herod against this newborn child.
My youngest daughter decided she was going to read the bible. We suggested she start with the new testament, and after a short while reading she exclaimed, “there’s a lot of babies in this story.”
She had been reading the gospel of Matthew which lists the lineage of Jesus. Starting from Abraham, through David, to his father Joseph. As the passage itself says, there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, and 14 generations from David to the Babylonian exile, and then 14 more generations from the exile until Jesus. As my daughter said, “That’s a lot of babies!” There is very long time between the promise of the Messiah and the arrival of him.
This year has been one of waiting for me. At first it was a waiting that led to a disappointment. Then it was a waiting that I felt compelled to do, even though all that was within me yearned for movement.
I have been waiting on others, waiting on peace, and waiting on God. I feel like it has been a year of many reminders again, and again, of God’s promises to me and yet still I have had to wait.
‘One day to go’, so says the Christmas countdown that my youngest has been turning over religiously each morning. One day before the noise, and the mayhem, and the laughter, and the arguments, and the tears.
Because Christmas does not magically make us exempt from those things. It is a day just like any other, and we are just as human at Christmas as on any other day.
I dropped the girls at school, and sighed deeply. It had been a morning of tears, and grumpiness. I felt I had gone ten rounds of emotional battle before 9am, (and lost most of them).
I was weary and teary, but I rushed home and got things ready for the trip to Rockingham. I called my Mum as I drove, and then I called my best friend. Talking the whole trip down.
It wasn’t until I sat down at the table, and the timer was set for the ‘Shut up and write’, that I suddenly realised how worn out I was. Emotionally I have been holding my family together. But not even thinking about me.