I did it. I have pulled my head out of the sand and faced the fact. Christmas is nearly here.
It's not that I don't like Christmas. I'm not ready. They must be scheduling it twice a year now. It was only the other day that I pulled the tree down and stored it in the shed. Now there are voices everywhere demanding its return to my living room.
Santa arrived at our local Westfield store about two weeks ago. I know that because my granddaughters were two of the elves that escorted him, along with a strange mix of animals, into the centre. I can understand Santa wanting to escape from his exile at the North Pole, but his timing is affecting all of us.
My gift cupboard isn't ready for Christmas. Nor is my pantry. My daughter-in-law has been asking where we are gathering for the celebrations. I have been plugging my fingers in my ears and singing, 'lalal alala,' very loudly.
However, yesterday I was briefly inspired. I pulled down my book display and replaced it with Christmas decorations. I even added three pieces of tinsel to the house. The plan is to add a little bit more each day so that I ease into the season gently.
Today I placed my little nativity figurines in front of my fireplace. Even though baby Jesus is already in the feeding trough, but I began thinking about Mary walking to Bethlehem carrying her unborn baby. And as a grandmother, I've been thinking about Mary's Mum and Joseph's Mum. I wonder how those grandmas were feeling as they waited for the pending birth. I sympathise with them. My guess is the community of Nazareth didn't buy the angel story. I can hear the women outside the synagogue whispering now.
'That's the worst excuse I've ever heard for turning up at your wedding, large with child! I hear she says its God's son. Blasphemy! She should have been stoned! I don't know what Joseph is thinking! He should have demanded her punishment Oh! Don't give me that story about an angel in a dream. God stopped speaking four hundred years ago. Disgusting it is...'
Being a grandma is a wonderful experience, unless the baby is out of timing, or something goes wrong. This whole episode must have seemed like a nightmare to these Grandmothers who were part of the earthly family chosen as to raise the Son of God. I wonder did they understand, or were they so consumed by the sorrow surrounding the illegitimate child they couldn't hear the story their children were telling?
There would have been many who judged Mary and Joseph, not knowing, or being willing to accept the truth. I'm sure our Lord's family suffered gossip and rejection for years.
Today, as I place my little Mary and Joseph beside the crib, I'm challenged again. How often do I judge others without understanding their full story?What if I poured contempt on someone when, in truth, it was God doing something unusual in an unexpected way?
Pausing, I realise I'm closer to the Christmas spirit than I thought. Maybe I'll go and play, 'Joy to the World.'