Christmas lasted at least two weeks when I was a little girl. First came the parties and presents, then Baby Jesus and the shepherds, then the Feast of the Circumcision and the Wise Men, then a dream that takes the Holy Family into Egypt, so he didn’t get killed by a scaredy-cat king. What an exciting story. Maybe Jesus got born in the middle of winter just to liven things up a bit, because after Christmas things got pretty darned dull.
Do you know that song that says, “Mother Mary, meek and mi-i-ild..”? She was far from mild. She stepped right into the temple and named her baby, even though that was the dad’s job and she was supposed to stay out, on account of just having a baby. Plus her baby was a boy, which meant he got to be circumcised, which was a special thing only for boys on the day they’re named. That happened eight days after birth, ’cause for one thing it took a long time for most people to pick out just the right name, and for another thing, those special circumcising guys were hard to come by.
Mom always said, “A smart woman let her husband think he’s in charge.” Not Mary. She stepped right up and said, “This baby’s name is Jesus,” even though Joseph stood right there and already knew his baby was Jesus, ’cause of an angel always talking to him in his dreams. Then that guy named Simeon said, “Well, guess what? This baby’s gonna pierce your heart with a sword.” Maybe Simeon was mad that Mary stepped on Joseph’s toes like that. Anyways, he meant Jesus was gonna make Mary super sad some day. It hardly took a genius to predict that ’cause kids were all the time making their moms super-sad, and making their hearts bleed, ’cause that commandment about obeying your mother and father was way harder to keep than not murdering someone, or going to church every Sunday. I never wanted to kill anyone, or even punch them in the belly, and church was a fun place to go, ’cause all that Latin and singing left lots of time for thinking about stuff. I got some of my best ideas in church. Besides, my friends Annette and Mike and Frank, and my best friend Connie were all there. And of course the stories at half-time were super exciting.
Joseph had some mighty good dreams, like it was okay to get married, and you better get your family out of town, because the wise men got lost and stopped by the palace looking for the new king, and the king got all anxious and scared, so he decided to kill all the baby boys just to be sure no new king survived. Too bad those other fathers didn’t get the same dream Joseph did, since all those other babies died, which was less than a fair shake. Maybe God only had so many angels getting into dreams and telling people what to do; or maybe those other fathers just chalked it up to bad meat, like Scrooge did when an angel tried to set him on the right path. I had a lot of dreams, but never about angels, just about people telling me what to do and me messing up and doing things all wrong and then getting into trouble. If an angel came and talked to me in a dream or for real, I would listen up and do exactly what he said, but if a whole lot of babies were gonna die, I’d say “Hey, that’s unfair. You better do something about that.”, ’cause that part of the story was super-sad, even if Jesus did get away to Egypt. On second thought, maybe I would be a tinsy bit bad at just listening to angels. Maybe obeying Mom and Dad was just practice in case an angel came along and had something really important for me to do.
Anyways, just as Joseph packed up his family to get out of town, the three wise men came and gave gifts that turned out to be good for a trip; especially gold, ’cause Joseph had to go all the way to Egypt and set up a new carpenter shop and get his business going all over again in a new town. My family never ever moved. Mom and Dad talked about it a lot, like moving Up North to Caseville where there was a brand new school, or to Florida where it was warm all the time, or to Australia where they needed farmers ’cause mostly they had old prisoners who didn’t know how to farm. That was just day-dreaming; we never moved.
It’s a long cold season between Christmas and the next holiday. Freezing cold days and long dark night, with all the annual and quarterly bills coming every day in the mail. It’s no wonder people get depressed after Christmas. Maybe we should sing Christmas carols all winter long just to keep our spirits up. On second thought, since caroling gets started before Thanksgiving these days, that’s not such a good idea. Maybe I’ll come up with a better idea during church this Sunday. Or maybe an angel will give me some good advise. Now that would be some excitement. I hope I can just listen and do what I’m told.