I’m exhausted from the move, from days on end of doing everything from packing, carrying, and unpacking boxes to stopping and starting utilities, scheduling trash pickup, learning how to use a new microwave, etc., etc. I haven’t had a Sabbath day of rest in far too long. Part of it is an intense inward desire to get the boxes out of the house, and we’ve already taken a big stack of them to U-Haul, which has a box reuse program. But the fact remains that I haven’t made time to sit still in what feels like—and probably has been—weeks.
This has brought me a different perspective on Christmas. We seldom think about how exhausted Mary must have been in the days following the birth of Jesus. She and Joseph had traveled 75 miles along dry and dusty roads. Mary had experienced the stress of giving birth, without her mother or other family members around to help her, in a strange place…in a dirty stable!
Yet the beat goes on. Things keep happening. Joseph wouldn’t have wanted to linger too long in Bethlehem, because every day away was a day of income lost in his carpenter shop back home. At this point, I imagine he would already have stood in line to register the family of three in the Emperor’s census. Today Henry is doing something that is, in one sense, similar. Through baptism, he is enrolling our first great-grandson in an eternal census: that of the Children of God. A much more joyous occasion—and also another busy day in a long string of busy days. I don’t regret it, and I’m glad for the opportunity to be present for this baptism—but I also recognize within myself a deep need for rest.
I have found some moments to rest—on the airplane, for example. Perhaps Mary found moments to rest as she recovered from her labor, and began to learn how to live with a child at her breast. I hope that they were able to get a room in the inn as other folks finished their census duties and moved on.
You also might be needing some recovery time from a busy holiday season. Whether you traveled 75, or 750, or 7 miles, or stayed home and hosted 7 additional friends and family, you might also need some rest. In fact, you might be reading this while still surrounded by lots of family and friends.
So how might you find moments to recover from the exhaustion of the holidays? What would feed your soul, help you find a bit of rest, in the midst of this busy Christmas season?
It is a little rest to write because you get to put down some of what you are carrying, and become less burdened. Perhaps in this story you are the donkey, having carried so much for so long and so far, who would be grateful for a stable in which to stop and refresh. Every handful of hay, every calm between visits from shepherds and kings, every silent starry moment counts. Drink deep and wait.
As for me, we got home from away last evening, and colder icy weather will cocoon me for a few days. I am eager to find a good pace again, space for prayer, silences, elliptical and ordinary nourishment. Prayers ensuing. ♥
Thank you, June! Being the donkey is a great image! Tomorrow will be a rest day for us I believe. Many blessings in your resting into winter!